CRL - Community Rail Lancashire

Bentham Line Success In National Awards

At the National Community Rail Awards event held at Swansea Arena on Monday 18th March, the Bentham Line (Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership) was the winner of the “Community Creative Projects and Station Arts” award.  This was for our “Rail to Sail” project, which came to fruition in June 2023: it included a specially commissioned large artwork, located in the newly refurbished passenger lounge at the ferry terminal showing the new ferry ‘Manxman’ which went into service in July 2023 in a scene which also included a railway train to symbolise how two different transport systems can help make the interchange between one mode and another both easier and quicker.

The CRP officers and FOBS representatives together with Alice Rice at Swansea cel-ebrating success – photo Pete Hartman

In addition children from St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, Heysham, were involved in producing another piece of artwork at the buffer stops where the railway line ends also under the banner of  “Rail to Sail” together with other artwork on the station platform.

The artwork at Heysham Port – photo Brian Haworth

Celebrating the success Gerald Townson, chairman of the CRP said “The Bentham Line was delighted to engage with so many local partners on this multi-aspect project which included ‘first-class’ artwork for the station and port terminal together with panels recording the history of rail and sea journeys to the Isle of Man over the last 125 years.”

Brain Haworth, a Community Rail Partnership Officer for the Bentham Line said “It was pleasing to see our project “Rail to Sail” which was developed within the local community bringing together a multitude of diverse partners, achieve success in this year’s Community Rail Awards.. The involvement of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company brought together two different transport operators in a unique partnership.”

Alice Rice, Terminal Manager at Heysham Port, stated that “The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company are delighted to have been part of a joint initiative with partners from the local community to enhance a rail and sail facility at Heysham Port. Special thanks to the children from St Peter’s School and to the Bentham Line volunteers for all their hard work.”

Gerald Townson, Chairman of the partnership, gained second place in the photographic competition on the theme of  “Capturing the essence of Community Rail” with an image titled “All Friends Together”depicting the Bentham Line’s “Grand Day Out” booklet and associated panels which are on various stations along the route.

All Friends Together (2nd place) – photo Gerald Townson

The Friends of Bentham Station (FOBS) received their Certificate of Excellence at Gold level in the Community Rail Awards category “It’s Your Station” being one of only four recipients.

The CRP was also shortlisted in the “best Marketing Campaign” category for their “Destination Wellbeing” project  and a further photo which was entitled  “5* hotel opening shortly”  about creating wildlife habitats.