Wansford Station Ticket Hall Restoration Bid

thomas tank07:25 Friday 3rd June 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: The original ticket hall at Wansford Station is on a list of most at-risk buildings organised by the organisation Save British Heritage. Nene Valley Railway want to buy the building from the haulage company that currently owns it, and restore it back to a ticket hall. The station’s been there since 1845. Over the years though the historic site has featured in a number of classic films. We’ve been to have a little look around. (TAPE) (SOUND FX-STEAM TRAIN)
GOVINDA GILL: Step on to the platform at Wansford Station and you feel like you’ve been transported back in time. The station’s been here since the 19th century, and in its time it’s featured in 150 TV programmes, commercials and films, including James Bond (MUSIC ). It’s also home to everyone’s favourite steam train, (MUSIC ) Thomas the Tank Engine.
UNNAMED: People love to come and see Thomas He is the big attraction. Now this Thomas here is the original Thomas as declared by DrAwdry. This is the only Thomas that is supposed to be able to carry the nameplate of Thomas.
GOVINDA GILL: So this is the original Thomas the Tank Engine.
UNNAMED: This is the original Thomas .
GOVINDA GILL: The station has a lot of rich history, but not all of the site is in a good state.
ELIZABETH DAVIES: This would have been the original way out, either that door, or that one.
GOVINDA GILL: Elizabeth Davies is one of the directors of the Nene Valley Railway. She says the original ticket hall is one of the oldest parts of the station.
ELIZABETH DAVIES: It was built 1844 – 1845, and it’s typical Victorian railway station.
GOVINDA GILL: The building itself looks pretty good, intact and obviously a lot of decay around the windows. What about inside? What’s it like?
ELIZABETH DAVIES: I’m afraid it’s got a bit run-down. It’s in a bit of a sad state. Apparently it’s got dry rot, which means that all the woodwork in the whole building would have to be removed, if it was restored.
GOVINDA GILL: If we have a look inside, we can look inside the windows, because obviously we don’t have access to go inside the building.
ELIZABETH DAVIES: Well this is the original booking hall, which has still got some of the .. it’s got the original floorboards. It’s got the original dado rail, and obviously the woodwork is all original. But apart from that, it’s just an empty room.
GOVINDA GILL: At the moment the building is owned by a haulage company. The railway say they’d like to take it off their hands.
ELIZABETH DAVIES: Well the Nene Valley Railway would like to buy the building and restore it as a Victorian station, so that people could come and visit it, and see displays about what life was like in the Victorian period, and maybe try on clothes, and activities that we could have here.
GOVINDA GILL: How much do you think this building is worth?
ELIZABETH DAVIES: Well that’s an interesting question, which we’re not really sure. Because although it is an old historic building, it needs so much work doing that obviously that reduces its value. But we’re now interested if possible in buying the whole site, and we know that the owners did think of putting it on the market a couple of years ago for about seven or eight hundred thousand pounds. So it’s quite a substantial amount. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Elizabeth Davies from the Nene Valley ending that report by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s Govinda Gill.