The ticket clerk at Whitchurch railway station has signalled that he is to depart.
Kevin Durant, or simply “Kev” as he is known to his many customers, posted a heart-felt good-bye letter next to his ticket window. It stated in part,
“Since Monday 7th June 2010, I have been the face behind the ticket office window at Whitchurch Railway Station.
Never off sick and always willing to give you, my customers, the best possible service at all times…so you can start your commute happy.”
“Therefore, it brings me great sadness to announce I will be leaving…so I can begin a new challenge.
My last working day here will be Wednesday 24th December 2014.”
CAR PARK EXPANSION IDEA
Kev always seemed to be trying to think of ways to improve the station for his passengers.
One such example was the challenge posed by the limited parking at the station car park. Kev wondered if it could be expanded by adding an extra row where the dismantled siding line once ran.
Tim Shoveller, managing director of South West Trains, however nixed the proposal when it was put to him by another constituent of Sir George Young, MP. Tim stated in May this year that:
“In previous correspondence to your constituent it was advised there were no plans to provide additional car parking at Whitchurch station.
Whilst we accepted there was a demand for additional car parking at the station, there is limited land within the station lease to make this possible.”
In 2011, Kev put a lot of effort into renovating the station and was rewarded with a second-place finish in the “Station Pride” awards.
His passengers benefited from a waiting room decorated with train memorabilia as well as a lending library of books, plus a puzzle for various passengers to assemble collectively.
This summer though, rubbish at the station started piling up after issues arose with the company contracted to collect it. The bins had to be removed and passengers were forced to use facilities elsewhere. Confronted with the issue by a passenger, the managing director of South West Trains stated on 1 August:
“I am sorry but have been unable to source why the station bins have been removed… the Station Manager has spoken to Sita and arrangements are now in place to resume collection within two weeks.”
STATION CLOSURE CONCERN
The imminent departure of the ticket clerk has raised the possibility again of the station office being shut. The McNulty report in 2011 recommended closure of stations such as the one in Whitchurch.
The station house was to have been renovated in 2013 according to Mr.Shoveller. In January, he stated:
“We are continuing to work on a solution to refurbish the station building accommodation although there is unlikely to be a short term solution at this stage”
In May, though, there had been no progress and Mr.Shoveller stated simply:
“I am sorry but have no further updates on this matter.”
South West Trains management has been asked whether there are plans to shut the station in 2015 following the departure of the ticket clerk.
Kev concluded his notice of departure by saying,
“During the last 4 1/2 years, I have (mostly) loved working at Whitchurch Railway Station.
A role which I recognised as an important position in your community.
May I please say it has been an honour and a pleasure to serve and get to know you all.
He finished with,
I wish you all the very best in the future.”