Kirkby Stephen East
By Kimberley Boak
Kirkby Stephen's other railway station has found a new lease of life ... as a museum, heritage centre and railway station!
Kirkby Stephen East Railway Station closed to passenger traffic in 1962 as the magical age of steam was ending.
The site was converted into a bobbin mill but rapidly fell into a state of disrepair. By 1992, the area had become derelict, then in 1996 the building and site were purchased by Stainmore Properties Ltd, for the use of a proposed railway from Appleby East.
In summer 2000, the Stainmore Railway Company was formed. SRC volunteers and shareholders have carried out substantial repairs to the building and have begun the task of developing a heritage centre and operational railway.
The company have since been awarded £300,000 by the North West Development Agency for their work. Mike Thompson, Chairman of the company explained:
The site now boasts it’s own museum and shop and the development done so far by the volunteers is documented by photographs on the wall of the station. The amount of work, which has gone into the restoration, is really quite phenomenal.
“It has changed so much since we took over,” says Sue Jones, company secretary, “99% of the time I love what we do and I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved. However, the weather up here can get extremely cold and on freezing days it can be very hard to come to the station, but in the long run it’s definitely worth it.”
A warm welcome awaits any visitors, the crackling log fire and the station cat, Rabbit, add to the charm and tranquillity of the historical site.
The volunteers are a close knit team, aside from Sue and Mike, Derek Thompson (retail director), Mark Keefe (share holder and press officer) and Thomas Tinkler (shareholder and volunteer) are amongst those who have put their heart and soul into bringing the Kirkby Stephen East station back to life. They are all clearly passionate about what they do, but Sue is keen to extend their dream further, and knows that it is essential to get even more people involved to ensure that their project survives, particularly those living locally.
Railway crane at KSE
“We’re always looking for new volunteers but we’re very keen to get the local people and schools involved,” she explained, “We feel that we have so much to offer, and have a great deal of local history to tell here.”
The company have even gone to the effort to ensure their work ties in with the national curriculum, so schools have even more reason to go to KSE railway station.
last updated: 01/05/2008 at 15:38