Our three shortlisted entries in the 2022 Community Rail Awards illustrate some of our recent projects. Whilst none were winning entries, we are grateful for the involvement of everyone contributing to making each project a positive and successful experience.
Involving Diverse Groups
In trying to find ways to mark the anniversary of the evacuation of children from Tyneside to rural communities along the Tyne Valley Railway, we wanted to bring together these communities today.
Our collaboration with Wallsend History Society, evacuees, Haltwhistle Film Project, Film Able and youth groups has resulted in a wonderful film entitled It Started with a Train Ride.
Evacuees, now in their 80’s and 90’s, recount their experiences of World War 2, their evacuation by train from industrial Newcastle to completely different lives in rural Haltwhistle.
Haltwhistle Film Project and Film Able, a film production company run by and for people with learning disabilities, have created the film, featuring evacuees and scouts, brownies, guides, rainbows, and the Young and Sweet youth group from the Haltwhistle area.
The project was supported by the North of Tyne Combined Authority and by donations from a crowdfunding appeal.
Arrangements are being made for a film premiere bringing together everyone involved. The film will then be used by Wallsend History Society and Tyne Valley CRP at events, during visits to schools and other venues.
You can now watch the film on YouTube
Community Creative Projects & Station Arts
The newly refurbished waiting room on Platform 2 at Haltwhistle is the venue of this, and future exhibitions of Haltwhistle is Something Special, the second shortlisted entry.
As a joint initiative between TVCRP and the station adopters, Haltwhistle Partnership, HISS volunteers have developed ideas for a series of exhibitions to reflect the rich and varied history of the town, which will be informative and interesting to people visiting the station.
The first exhibition, Something to Bark About, featuring local dog breeds was unveiled in March 2022. Dog owners in Haltwhistle and surrounding parishes were invited to provide photos of their dogs and these were featured in a montage as part of the display. Dog owners were invited to attend the exhibition’s opening with each dog owner being presented with an A4 colour poster.
The next exhibition featuring 1900 years of history is currently being researched and local people are being asked to contibute with stories and ideas.
Most Enhanced Railway Spaces
Our third shortlisted entry is our biggest ever project, the transformation of the dilapidated station buildings in the Haltwhistle Waiting Rooms Re-development.
Part of the wooden buildings dating from 1907 on the two platforms had been boarded up since 1969. Whilst the remaining space was still in use as waiting rooms, neither offered a welcome or pleasant space.
Bringing the redundant buildings back to life has been a long-term project with many challenges but now the transformation is almost complete.
With ramped access to welcoming waiting areas on both platforms, sustainable LED lighting, pv panels on the roof, insulation in the lofts and so much attention to detail. Window blinds have been commissioned featuring old images of the station.
The newly created studios and offices will be available to rent,
The redevelopment is already benefitting the local community and its visitors who see a welcoming, cared for station