North Wales Railway Station adoption project ready for take-off thanks to young aerospace apprentice

An apprentice aerospace engineer is hoping to transform a train station in north Wales, with a little help from his local community.

You might think that learning aerospace engineering whilst working for a major European company company would be enough to occupy anyone’s time.

But one teenage apprentice has still managed to fit in “adopting” a railway station into his hectic schedule.

Steven Waters, 19, joined Airbus at their Flintshire site in September and commutes regularly from his hometown of Shrewsbury to Hawarden for work and Shotton for college.

He found out about the station adopters scheme run by Arriva Trains Wales after being inspired by a friend who was part of a similar scheme with East Midlands Trains and has now completed his adoptiong of Hawarden.

“Due to my travelling I spend a great deal of time at or passing through Hawarden station, and so it seemed a logical choice and I was thrilled when I found out it was ‘up for adoption’,” said Steven.

“The time I spend at Hawarden station would be spent there whether or not I had adopted it, so I reason that it might as well be used making the station a more pleasant environment for its regular users (myself being one of them).”

Having attended Shrewsbury Sixth Form College, Steven spent a year with Rolls Royce in Derby, where he first began to commute by train regularly. He was then offered the chance to join Airbus as an Engineering Undergraduate Apprentice. This is an extremely coveted ‘sponsored degree’ scheme whereby Airbus cover his tuition fees for a BEng in Aerospace Engineering, alongside a full time wage.

“It’s a company which, much like railways, I’m extremely passionate about and I am thrilled to have been given such a unique opportunity,” added Steven, who uses Arriva’s new Mobile Multi-flex tickets for his commute to work and college as well as his railcard.

Arriva Trains Wales’ station adoption scheme has proved very successful in recent years with people young and old coming together to make local stations a real community hub. Adopters are requested to submit a minimum of two reports a month so that we can address any issues that are identified. However many see it as a real opportunity to develop floral displays, artwork and information boards. Community Relations Manager for Arriva Trains Wales, Geraint Morgan, said: “It’s brilliant to have a young person like Steven involved.

“His passion for the railway is fantastic and we’re really grateful to him for getting involved.

“Station adopters don’t have to do any cleaning or maintenance because these are done on a weekly basis by our own staff. They act as an extra pair of eyes and ears at our stations where we don’t have any on site staff and report any problems.”

More than 140 of Arriva’s 247 stations have been adopted to date but there are still plenty more available.

“Without the legion of station adopters, it would be impossible for Arriva to have ‘eyes everywhere’ and monitor the condition of every station on its network,” said Steven.

“I believe that a revamp of the station artwork could help to create a more welcoming environment for the station and give it a little bit more character. I’d hope to include the local community in creating some new displays for the shelters and the platform to give visitors to Hawarden arriving by train a little taste of the village’s character.

“My friends who know me well find it no surprise that I have ‘adopted’ a railway station and have been very interested to find out about what it entails. I am of course encouraging everyone I know to consider getting involved with or adopting their own local station!”

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