Whitchurch Railway station, has scooped a major award despite being under threat of closure.
In the South West Trains ‘Station Pride’ competition for small stations, it took a fantastic second place, a superb achievement. The winner was Wool in Dorset, while Portsmouth Harbour won the large station prize.
One of the station’s display panels states the following, which is quite apt…
Whitchurch boasts a most handsome, well proportioned railway station. Graced with a myriad of elegant features, its size and grandeur allude to a settlement of greater size than the small town in which it is located.
Until recently, the first sight greeting the alighting traveller here was that of a station wallowing in a ‘nadir’ of faded glory, desperately in need of a fresh coat of paint to lift its spirits. Thanks to some recent work many areas of the station are again looking smart and resplendent.
Much of that work is down to the hard work, enthusiasm and commitment towards customer service of Kevin Durrant, the smiling face behind the ticket counter.
Today Kevin travelled up to Woking to collect the Award at a special lunch ceremony, along with ‘line cleaner’ Chris Evans who supports Kev in his endeavours.
This is a tremendous achievement and truly puts Whitchurch ‘on-the-map’. To reach this level in this competition is a fantastic result.
Since Kevin’s appointment, travelling to and from Whitchurch has been a much improved experience. The community notice board, the jigsaw and books in the waiting room, and the historical information boards all add to the pleasure of using the station.
Kevin was over-the-moon with the award. “I see all walks of life here and like to think I give the people of Whitchurch something different to enhance their journey” he told the town’s website..
He certainly does that, with his cheery help and advice as well as a deep commitment to the railways. He admits that overall the perception of the railways can sometimes be poor and he is always trying to improve the customers’ experience.
Terence Bruty, a regular traveller from Lynch Hill Park, says of Kevin “He is a great chap, always a pleasure to buy my ticket from him”, going on to add “I can’t stand the ticket machines”.
It is this personal service that sets Whitchurch apart from others and which makes this award so special to Kevin and the town.
Gerry McNulty who lives between Whitchurch and Kingsclere, used to travel from Thatcham into London but now much prefers Whitchurch. “A much better service” was how he summed it up.
The whole town should be proud of Kev and what he has achieved.
We are sure all who use the station will also wish to join us in giving our Congratulations.
How ironic it would be, if after gaining this Award, the station became UNMANNED.