The Cotswold Line Promotion Group (CLPG) and Great Western Railway have opened a new waiting room in honour of two leading members of the rail campaign group.
The room at Moreton-in-Marsh station, funded by GWR, CLPG and Gloucester County Council has been erected in honour of CLPG founder Oliver Lovell who died after a heart attack at the station in Summer 2013; and John Stanley, also a founder member of the rail user group.
President of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group Lord Faulkner said: “This is an occasion for us to honour the memory of Oliver Lovell and John Stanley, two great stalwarts of the CLPG and create a permanent memorial to both of them.
“In the late 1970s plans were drawn up to close the line between Moreton and Evesham. It was to fight that and save the line that the CLPG came into being, and John and Oliver were at the heart of that campaign.
“This waiting and meeting room is a fine memorial for Oliver Lovell and John Stanley. I hope the new railway service on the Cotswold Line we are all working to create will also be another great part of their legacy.”
The room was built following an application for funding from the GWR Customer and Community Improvement Fund (CCIF) by the CLPG and supported by the County Council.
Cabinet Member Environment and Planning, Gloucestershire County Council Cllr Nigel Moor said: “Moreton-in-Marsh is well placed to become a key economic centre for the Cotswolds. Good rail connections are an essential part of this and Gloucestershire County Council are fully supportive of this ambition.”
The new room also provides seating and is on the London bound platform, which previously did not have facilities for railway users.
Thanking Lord Faulkner for the continued partnership between the CLPG and GWR, GWR Director of Sales and Marketing Phil Delaney said:
“The work that Oliver and John started carries on today, and this shelter is a fitting tribute to those so instrumental in securing the future of the line.
“We at GWR recognise only too well the value of rail to the local and national economy. Over the course of the last 18 months we have introduced new Intercity Express Trains on the line, increasing capacity by up to 24% per train, and in December we will see the biggest shake-up of our timetable in 40 years – providing a step change in user’s experience.
“We are committed to improving the journeys of our passengers, as well as the economic prosperity and social footprint of the regions and communities we serve.”
The new room was officially opened by Lord Faulkner and MP for the Cotswolds Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown in front of members of the CLPG and relatives of Oliver Lovell and John Stanley.
Sir Geoffrey said: “The opening event was a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to the dedicated volunteers of the CLPG, who have been campaigning for 40 years originally to stop the Cotswolds line from closing and now are a driving force in its improvements.
“We need to continue to invest in our stations, so our journeys become as easy and comfortable as possible. The shift to rail is key to modal shift, the Government is committed to ambitious targets to reduce diesel emissions and encouraging train use is vital.
“All of those present on Friday were able to see an example of the new engine as it passed through the station.
“This will make journey times to Oxford and London quicker, combined with the new timetable in December providing more frequent trains, overall the service in and out of Morton will vastly improve.”
Image credit: GWR