We are a dedicated Community Interest Company who have a shared vision to preserve this Vintage Railway Station.
Late 20th C story
Brandon Station today is very different from how it looked to travellers departing or arriving even forty or fifty years ago. It was on 7 March 1967 that the station staff, apart from a single signalman, were withdrawn from this historic 1845 station. Since then the building has been rented out to various tenants and over the years became dilapidated and unwelcoming.
Since 2005 it has been empty but, nevertheless its prospects, as well as its appearance, are brighter now than they have been for a long time.
Behind the boarded-up windows of the station buildings can be found the old booking hall and waiting room but this is no comfort to passengers who have to use the decrepit shelters with broken windows. (A new shelter was installed on the Norwich platform in 2007 followed by 2 more on the Cambridge platform – these are little more that bus shelters). All this may be about to change if the Friends of Brandon Station achieve their aim of regenerating the station.
The Changing Face
For all projects to move forward the problem is to get agreement among the large number of bodies who have a stake in the station. In British Rail days it was simple.
Following a change in the franchisee on 5th February 2012, Abellio [ parent company of Greater Anglia] who now run 95% of the trains which stop here, have overall management for the buildings, platforms, grounds and car park. Four local authorities also have varying degrees of involvement.
The station is actually in Norfolk – in the parish of Weeting. The county boundary (which was altered in 1996) now passes behind the access road to the Cambridge platform, and then snakes across the level crossing – which means the signalbox is in Suffolk! Thus, two county councils, two district councils (Forest Heath and Breckland), plus Brandon Town Council and Weeting Parish Council, have an interest in what happens.
Friends of Brandon Station CiC has until December 2012 to find enough funds to convert part of the building from its current state to one which will provide active use and protect it from demolition. Following that funding will become available and we will have to opportunity to negotiate a 50 year lease to complete the works and to restore the building for community use.
So far, the following ideas have been mooted :
- FOBS has been approached by a local restaurateur who would like to open part as a refreshment kiosk selling take-away hot and cold drinks and snacks.
- At least one community group which has no permanent accommodation of its own is interested in using another part of the building.
- The old station master’s house could be brought back into housing stock.
- There has also been interest in using part of the building for commercial use.
- FOBS itself would like to set up a Station Museum incorporating, if possible, the signal box and its equipment which is also due for demolition once the new signalling is in place.
- In a recent survey of passengers, the need for a public toilet was often mentioned
Why support these improvements which will benefit :
- train passengers by providing better facilities,
- the community by keeping one of the last unique buildings,
- business by creating an attractive arrival point for travellers and tourists for a town which is already known as the Gateway to the Brecks
HOW CAN YOU HELP ?
The usual plea is for finance and, yes, financial help is always needed but there are other ways individuals, businesses and community groups can help :
- Practical building skills to ensure FOBS meets one of its obligations under the lease – to prevent deterioration
- Building materials to help those with building skills
- Legal and financial advice
- Fund raising expertise
Join FOBS now and help us save the Station
Download 2013 Membership Form