We are a local community action group (we’re all volunteers !) who look after our station.
We are very proud to have been the first “Friends of a Station” group in the whole of the UK, and we are still going strong. When we were founded in 1996, the outlook for the station seemed bleak; we believe that our efforts have turned that situation round completely, and we are consistently one of the Best Kept Stations in the area.
Working in cooperation with National Rail, with Northern Rail and with the local community and business, our primary aims are:
- To make changes for the better at the station where we can (the many “Handforth” rail sign-posts, “Art In A Box”, annual Christmas Lights, keeping the station tidy, and so on).
- To campaign and lobby the relevant authorities for improved access to the station, and for other areas where we can’t make the change ourselves.
- To represent the users of the station.
As you will read elsewhere on this website, the station has seen a remarkable turnaround in fortunes over the past 22 years. This is due primarily to how well FoHS works in partnership with the local community, with businesses and with the rail industry.
Here is an article published in the Wilmslow Express in 2006 about the group:
Once an ugly mess Handforth Station is now one of best kept in Cheshire
ONCE upon a time, Handforth train station was a vandalised eye sore, but now it has a starring role in a book about the pride of this county’s railways.
The ugly duckling train station became the toast of the county after being lovingly restored by the Friends of Handforth Rail Station.
Now it is proudly featured in a new book called ‘The Baggin Man Takes the Train’, a full water colour whistle stop tour of Cheshire best stations.
The book, by John Hulme, features all the stations that have made the grade in the Best Kept Station Competition.
Mike Bishop, chairman of the friends group, said inclusion in this book is an acknowledgement of their efforts and achievements over the past ten years.
He said: “It is great that a relatively modern station is being recognised as beautiful.”
In testimony to their efforts, John Hulme, the book’s author, hopes to present the original watercolour painting by Bernice Barrett-Brown which is featured in the book to display in the station.
Handforth established itself firmly on the station spotters map after being awarded ‘Cheshire’s Best Kept Station’ for three years running. That is largely thanks to ‘Friends of Handforth Station’, formed ten years ago as concern grew that the dilapidated station would be closed down.
The group was mainly formed from ‘Handforth in Bloom’ gardening society, and now many different people from the area put their efforts towards the ever popular station.
Mike Bishop said: “The beauty is that different people come together to do their bit for the station. Improvements are constantly being made, for example a group from a residential home are at present working in collaboration with a local artist to design new arches for over the waiting area.”
Many local schools have also completed artwork along with various clubs and societies designing pieces to display around the station.
Passengers waiting for their morning train can enjoy the great variety of local art, from paintings to the sculptures on the platform to the colourful flags flying outside the station. Another current project of the railway station is the collection of Handforth signs in the design of those from across the globe to display on the platform.
The Baggin Man takes the Train is published by Vale Royal Borough Council and is available free of charge at local tourist information centres. Copies can also be requested from www.cheshirerail.org. – Amy O’Shea 16/8/2006
However, there remains much work to do and we welcome the support and involvement of anyone.