Good News Friday: Your weekly roundup of positive rail news!

Posted: 12 April 2024 | | No comments yet

In this Good News Friday, read how Northern have continued their classical music, a new station partnership, and SVR’s Italian car show.

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17 years in the making: Volunteers secure £300,000 of government funding to create new community centre at Mytholmroyd Station

moth station

A group of volunteers will transform a derelict building at Mytholmroyd Station in West Yorkshire into a community centre that provides studio space for local artists, after they secured almost £300,000 of funding.

Mytholmroyd Station Partnership, run by Geoff and Sue Mitchell, have been working on plans to redevelop and reopen the old station building for 17 years but they have been hit by a number of setbacks, including severe flooding and the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the group are confident they can complete the project and welcome the first tenants within the next 12 months, after they were awarded £293,193 by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in the third round of the Community Ownership Fund in March.

Mr Mitchell, chairman of the group, said the Grade II listed building has stood empty for 40 years but it will soon become a creative centre for Mytholmroyd and space on all three floors will be rented out to locals.

He added: “We are delighted to have secured this funding from the government after years of hard work.

“The building has become a sad sight since it was closed and boarded up, so we can’t wait to complete the renovation and reopen it for the people of Mytholmroyd.”

Northern operates the station, which welcomes over 200,000 passengers a year, and it helped volunteers submit the application to DLUHC.

Kerry Peters, regional director for Northern, said: “We’re proud to have helped these dedicated volunteers secure the funding they need to bring their dream to life, after 17 years of hard work and perseverance.

“It will be fantastic to see them transform this old station building into a community centre that can be enjoyed by local people.”

Opened in 1874 by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, the station building next to Platform 2 contained a booking hall, waiting rooms, a station master’s office and a ticket collector’s office.

But after it was closed and boarded up in 1984, the building fell into disrepair and was frequently targeted by vandals.

Since 2007, Mytholmroyd Station Partnership have been working on plans to redevelop and reopen it. 

Network Rail began the renovation and made the building structurally sound in 2018, after receiving contributions from Historic England and the Railway Heritage Trust. It then offered a 25-year lease to Mytholmroyd Station Partnership.

The group set up a charitable incorporated organisation, called The Station Building, Mytholmroyd, which submitted the funding application to DLUHC.

They are now working to complete the renovation with the funding they secured to ensure the building has electricity, heating and running water.

Northern has a long-running programme called ‘Stations as a Place’ that aims to develop local stations on its network as community hubs rather than just an access point onto the rail network.

Businesses interested in current spaces for hire at Northern stations should visit:

Italian Autorail event at the Severn Valley Railway

svr car

Italy is rightly famous for its ice cream, pasta, coffee…and cars! And there’s an opportunity to see some of the very best Italian automotive engineering on display at the Severn Valley Railway on Sunday 28 April, when Bridgnorth Station host its first ‘Italian Autorail’ event.

This will be a spectacular gathering of more than 100 Italian road vehicles from across the decades, and it’s been organised in collaboration with the Italian AutoMoto Club.

“We’ll have a wide range of vehicles on display,” said the railway’s visitor engagement manager Lewis Maddox. “And it will include virtually every model of Ferrari, together with the latest Lamborghinis and numerous vintage models from both companies. You really must come and get a ‘pizza’ the action!”

The chance to get up close and browse this prestigious collection of vehicles will make the perfect day out when combined with a trip on the 16 miles of the SVR’s line which runs between Bridgnorth and Kidderminster.

Freedom-of-the-Line tickets, which allow unlimited travel for a whole day, and short journey tickets are available at and there are money-saving deals for families.

‘Encore!’: Classical music here to stay at 35 Northern stations

northern classical

Classical music is here to stay at 35 stations across Northern’s network after trials found it can be used to deter anti-social behaviour. 

The train operator orchestrated a plan to play music inspired by the likes of Beethoven, Mozart and Handel at nine stations in 2022 and it was then introduced at another 26 stations last year, as part of trials which aimed to prevent loitering, vandalism and graffiti.

Customers called for an encore, claiming they felt safer at those stations because large groups had stopped gathering there on a regular basis and causing a nuisance, particularly during the school holidays.

The teams which manage the stations play the music at certain times of the day to ensure it has an impact on anti-social behaviour and control the volume so it does not disturb local residents.

Tricia Williams, chief operating officer at Northern, said: “We’re pleased to have found an innovative and effective way of deterring anti-social behaviour.

“Following the successful trial, we will continue playing classical music at these stations and look to introduce it at others in the coming months.

“We want all of our customers to feel safe and secure when they travel and this approach, along with other investment we are making, is working well.” 

During the initial trial, the music was played at stations in Billingham, Shildon, Heighington, North Road, Orrell, Keighley, Hyde North, Ilkley and Newton Aycliffe.

The following year, it was rolled out at Beverley, Birchwood, Bryn, Cottingham, Cross Gates, Fitzwilliam, Flimby, Halewood, Haltwhistle, Hattersley, Levenshulme, Lostock Gralam, Maryport, Mill Hill, Newton for Hyde, Penistone, Rainhill, Sowerby Bridge, Sunderland, Ulverston, Wetheral, Whiston, Nunthorpe, Seaton Carew, Stockton and Seaham.

In a bid to tackle criminal activity and anti-social behaviour, Northern is setting up 600 new CCTV cameras at its stations as part of an investment programme announced last year.

The train operator has also installed 7,000 HD CCTV cameras on board its fleet of trains and invested £1.7m in the roll-out of more than 1,000 new body-worn camera kits to colleagues across its network, taking the total number now in operation to 1,300. 

British Transport Police has access to all the footage and can use it in criminal prosecutions.  

Anyone can report anti-social behaviour on the rail network by using British Transport Police’s ‘Railway Guardian’ app. They can also contact the force by texting 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40.