STALYBRIDGE railway station picked up a first-ever award at the 15th annual Cheshire Best Kept Stations Awards.
The station, which is managed by TransPennine Express, beat off competition from Chester, Crewe, Macclesfield, Manchester Airport, Runcorn, Stockport, Warrington Bank Quay and Wilmslow to win the TravelWatch NorthWest accolade for the best large station.
The ceremony took place recently at the Grange Theatre, Northwich, and the awards were presented by Jools Townsend, chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships.
Judges praised the station for its friendly staff, cleanliness and excellent facilities.
They were particularly impressed by the booking office which they described as light and welcoming as well as the mural which adorns the subway walls. The station buffet bar also received a special mention.
Chris Dale, chairman of TravelWatch NorthWest, said: “The judges were impressed with improvements to the subway where murals can be found.
“They also mentioned the station’s buffet bar which is known world-wide. It is amazing how it was once nearly shut down.
“Staff were friendly and they noted there was a good atmosphere at the station and it was welcoming.”
In the last 12 months customers at Stalybridge have benefited from the addition of brand new bench seating, enhanced Wi-Fi and more Sunday services to Hull, Leeds and Manchester.
Brand new information screens will soon be installed, offering an increased amount of information, especially during disruption.
Cllr Joyce Bowerman, Tameside Civic Mayor, who collected the accolade on the night, said: “I was delighted to accept the award on behalf of Stalybridge Station.
“It’s used by a great many Tameside residents so it’s satisfying to know they are able to benefit from such good facilities.
“It was a real pleasure to attend the presentation evening in Northwich where I was also able to receive an award on behalf of Hattersley, another Tameside station.”
Lucja Majewski, Regional Development Manager for TransPennine Express said: “We are over the moon that Stalybridge and the hard work and friendliness of our colleagues has been recognised in this way.
“We are committed to the communities we serve and will continue to develop our stations in line with our vision to Take the North Further.”
John Hulme, president and founder of Cheshire Best Kept Stations, said: “My congratulations to the staff at this TransPennine Express station, also known for its unique Victorian station buffet bar, on winning this award.
“Our judges found the staff very pleasant and helpful and the station clean, tidy and welcoming. We hope this is the first of many wins for Stalybridge Station”.
TransPennine Express is investing £18million in stations across the north and is delivering a £32million upgrade of its Class 185 trains.