Last year we received a very generous donation from one of our former volunteers which enabled us to install roller shutters and let the light into Ferry Meadows Station Building for the first time in a very long time.
This year we are looking to kick start fund raising to install a canopy at the station. We estimate this will cost around £2,000.
Scroll down to see the latest progress
The photo on the left shows the columns the day after they were erected on 7th March 2015
Building a canopy will have many positive aspects to it. It will provide shelter from the elements for those waiting for a train, which will be especially useful on days when the station is not open to the public. It will also enhance the look of the station and transform what is a very open area into something more cosy. This is all part of a larger project to recreate a Great Northern Railway Station, reflecting the wider railway heritage of the Peterborough Area.
The Station Building is the former goods office from Fletton Junction on The East Coast Mainline. It was demolished and painstakingly moved brick by brick and reopened at Ferry Meadows Station in 2004. Bearing in that this is the only permanent structure in place on the station, constructing a LNWR station with a GNR building at its heart seems neither here nor there. We also have a Great Northern Footbridge on site that was removed from the ECML and will be erected to join the platforms and Night Mail Museum in the fullness of time. Bearing in mind the existing infrastructure is Great Northern, the only sensible solution to stay true to the museum principals of the Nene Valley Railway is to forge ahead with this theme.
Historically, the Great Northern were well known for working with other railways. The LNWR and GNR had a joint line running through Leicestershire. As part of these running rights, trains originating over the line that is now the NVR would traverse over GNR metals to reach stations such as Leicester in the early part of the 20th Century. Other joint railways included the famous Midland and Great Northern Railway spanned a large section of Norfolk. They also had a joint line with the Great Eastern Railway through Lincolnshire.
As the project progresses in years to come we will look to continue with this by paying close attention to detail on colour schemes and styles when things need repainting or replacing. We are currently also in the process of getting the station column lights working again as these have not worked for many years since cabling was stolen. In the future we will look to build a signal box in a Great Northern Style on the site of the old signal box, by the crossing, to control both trains and road traffic and a second platform. Any funds raised beyond the money needed for the canopy will be put towards other projects within the station.
To initiate this, we have launched ‘A Fiver for Ferry’. With a £5 donation people receive a uniquely numbered gift certificate. The project is being managed and driven forward by The Night Mail Team, however funds are being ring fenced for the station project. If anyone would like to donate to this worthy cause and make a real difference to Ferry Meadows Station there are a number of ways to do this.
Pop down to Ferry Meadows Station
Since the launch of the Fiver For Ferry campaign in February we have been steadily working on the first stages of the canopy as and when time and finances allow.
In mid Feb we had a mini excavator on site for works involving The Night Mail Project. The opportunity was therefore taken to take the excavator onto the platform to dig the holes for the columns. These have had to be quite deep due to the fact that the columns are of a set height, and any shallower would have meant they were too tall for the station building!
Also whilst on site the garden/shrubland area around the station was cleared to allow for new gardens to be started to aid our 'Ferry Meadows in Bloom' campaign.
To move this along, we are also in the process of constructing a greenhouse.
A further improvement will be having a phone box on the platform to allow passengers to get information on days when the station is closed. There was a derelict phone box at Wansford so this would 'simply' be a case of laying a concrete base, transporting it to Ferry Meadows, restoring and reglazing it, and installing a phone... Not to mention ensuring the undesirable locals do not get to it once restored!
Step one, the laying of the base, was undertaken at the same time as the foundations for the columns we poured.
Step two, transporting the columns and phone box from Wansford was done by the Nene Valley's TASC machine on Friday 6th March. The TASC machine is a permanent way vehicle with a flat bed and hiab on the back that formally ran in the highlands and is ideally suited to this sort of job. It was able to crane both the phone box in and also position the columns all in one morning. The photos below are screen grabs from our CCTV cameras at Ferry Meadows.
All the works done so far have been relatively cheap to do and have been within the amount donated over the past month. We will however need a greater push on funding to allow us to buy the timber required for the roof of the canopy.
Going forward, this stage of the canopy will only cover half the building. To complete the whole canopy will involve expensive cast iron welding on two additional damaged columns and then this same process repeating.
The last photograph shows D49 Morayshire storming through the station during our February Steam gala.