Keeping up to the grade - improvements at Hebden Bridge railway station

HEBDEN Bridge's restored Grade II Listed station is now even better following the opening of new toilets and a top quality exhibition of historic photographs and lithographics of the station and of the railway line through the upper Calder Valley.

The opening ceremony was attended by 35 people including the newly elected MP for the Calder Valley Craig Whittaker, new Calderdale Council Leader Coun Janet Battye, and Luddenden Foot Councillor, Coun Christine Bampton-Smith.

Drew Haley, Stakeholder Manager for Northern Rail, officially opened the new toilets, stating that this was the latest in a series of improvements to the passenger experience made by Northern Rail across its network.

As well as the usual ladies and gentlemen's toilets, there is also a fully accessible toilet for wheelchair users.

This was welcomed by Robert Blomfield of the Friends of Hebden Bridge station, who said that they hoped that a passenger lift could be installed in the old lift shaft before too long.

Following the opening of the toilets, the historic exhibitions in both the waiting rooms, which is a permanent attraction at the station and is free of charge, were formally opened by the new Mayor of Hebden Royd, Coun Robin Dixon.

He said: "I am proud that the council has been able to fund this exhibition and I'd like to praise the energy and preparation, which went into producing it.

It is the council's policy to support local community action."

Coun Dixon introduced David Taylor, from the Friends of Hebden Bridge Station, who was the lead organiser of the exhibition.

Mr Taylor gave a brief history of the railway in the Upper Valley, and thanked Frank Woolrych of Pennine Heritage for his tremendous help.

The photographs have come from several sources including the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Society, who were represented at the opening.

Nina Smith, chairman of the Friends of Hebden Bridge train station, said: "The exhibition was largely funded by a grant from Hebden Royd Town Council and I'd like to thank the council for its generosity.

"The friends were set up in 2007 with the support of Northern Rail, and our dual role is to help safeguard the beautiful station buildings, work to improve the passenger experience at the station and make its approach more attractive by a programme of weed clearance and the planting of flowers, fruit bushes and shrubs."

Anyone interested in joining the group, especially those who enjoyed gardening, can contact Nina on 01422 842651.