The five-year refurbishment programme of Ridgmont Station House is approaching completion (yay) following the award of grants from the Rural Development Programme for England administered by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and WREN last year. Other funding has been provided from the Railway Heritage Trust and Central Bedfordshire Council.
The station is one of the oldest railway buildings in the county dating back to 1846, but has largely been redundant since the late 1970s, evident from the wallpaper! It is the last remaining station building on the line not to have been renovated and refurbished for either private or commercial use.
Local contractors, Meadsway, are currently on site working on the interior renovations. The building is due to open in the summer and will be managed by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity.
Facilities will include a heritage centre, café, shop, Tourist Information Point, our base, meeting room and toilets. Three offices are available for rent in the upstairs rooms; one of which has been provisionally let. Contact us to discuss rates.
It is envisaged the Café will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays to tie in with the school trains and Saturdays during the summer months. The Heritage Centre is likely to be open Tuesdays – Saturdays from Easter – October.
We do need your help to get us up and running, so any offers to help with the following would be appreciated:
- Volunteer stewards for the Heritage Centre (thanks to those who have already offered at the Christmas meeting!).
- Exhibits for the Heritage Centre, either on a loan or donation basis; we are particularly interested in old photos of the station and surrounding area.
For further information please contact Stephen Sleight, Marston Vale Community Rail Partnership Officer, at Bedfordshire RCC on 01234 832645, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org