Since the formation of the Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership, we have been involved in many projects in our local community. The purpose has been to link the community rail partnership and railway with the community through these projects and events. Which include station enhancements, community engagement events and art schemes some of which are listed below.
Community Art Schemes
2010 – Garston Community Youth Art Day led by Groundwork Hertfordshire to improve the station environs and decrease anti-social behaviour. Some of the art work produced on the day is on display at the station.
2013 – Two new art projects for the walkway to Platform 11. A vibrant poster based on a theme of sustainable transport as a means of arrival at the station was produced by a group from Woodside Church of Nazarene youth club. Supported by Watford YMCA youth workers the young people used blank tickets, supplied by London Midland, tissue paper and paint to create a very imaginative and brightly coloured poster.
Working with adults living at Watford YMCA hostel, a project called A→B, depicting a journey, resulted in some very creative and artistic posters. This project was led by Artist Eleanor Shipman who was commissioned by the CRP and found it a new and rewarding experience. Watford’s Elected Mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, unveiled artworks with Cllr Terry Douris, Abbey Line CRP Chairman.
2014 – Redesign of the waiting shelter at Garston to include new glass panels with designs from Berry Grove Academy
2015 – The St Albans Abbey station mosaics to enhance the station environs with local themes with pupils from St Peters School and artist Jane Visick
2019 – Mural at Watford Junction station with artist Mark Tanti, students from St Columba’s School, Watford North Scouts, members of the public. The mural was commissioned by the CRP to showcase the stations on the line and create a colourful piece to celebrate the CRP.
2019 – We commissioned 20 artwork pieces with Groundwork Hertfordshire who worked with designer Amber Stevens. Two local schools, Park Street Church of England School and Watford St John’s Church of England Primary School signed up to take part.
The brief for the art pieces were to showcase people, places or events from the local area some of which are War Horse, by Michael Morpurgo, Gerry Halliwell from the Spice Girls, Kelly Smith MBE, The Bricket Wood funfair from the 1800’s, the River Ver, Cassiobury Park, The Hornets (Watford FC) and Stephen Hawking. As a result, we have wonderful artwork which was unveiled by the Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor and now displayed at stations along the Abbey line.
2021 – In addition a new Days Out leaflet was produced along with beautifully designed illustrated posters, featuring various local landmarks both designed by Nicky Thompson of Lemondrop creative. These will be displayed at the stations and for its launch were displayed at various digital boards around Watford town centre.
Some of the projects we have done are;
2013 – Improved lighting along the public footpath to Garston Station
2013 – Developed Highway signage scheme; all stations from Park Street to Watford North are now clearly signed from major and local roads.
2013 – Launch of the Abbey Line Anniversary Rail Ale Trail
2015 – The design and production of The St Albans Station Gateway with students from The Marlborough Science Academy,, Groundwork Hertfordshire and Campbell Engineering
2015 – The Abbey Line Trail was commissioned by the Community Rail Partnership and delivered by Countryside Management Hertfordshire. This is a nine mile walk from Watford Junction Station to St Albans Abbey Station. The self -guided walk can be completed in sections allowing you to use the train to return to your start point and is open all year round. A map is available via our Days Out page.
2017 – ‘Love your Community Rail in February’ Art project. Encouraged youngsters to send in art work inspired by the Abbey Line train service and stations. The winners were two brothers from Park St and their little brother, winning 1st class family train tickets, vouchers and special ‘thank you’ vouchers for their school library. With the Route Manager from London Midland, we surprised them at school with a presentation.
2017 – Abbey Line Guide. A pocket sized guide of all the stations on the route and travel information.
2018 – Launch of the Abbey Line Days Out scheme and passport. In partnership with Hertfordshire County Council, we engaged with students from Oaklands College on a marketing plan to promote the Abbey line service. A range of ideas were put forward and the students were invited to the London Midland Office to present their ideas. One of these stood out, encouraging use of the train service for leisure to events and attractions. This idea was then developed further and the Abbey Line Days Out scheme was launched with the passport being unveiled six months later at the Christmas event.
2018 – Our schools project in conjunction with Hertfordshire County Council and London Northwestern Railway was launched. Working with local schools to introduce children to the railway, railway safety, reading train timetables to plan a journey, how to buy fares, careers in rail and learn about their own perspective of the railway and local stations. The project includes a ride on the train, visit to the local station to meet staff and a peek in the control room where possible.
2020 – Bee Friendly Trust project at Watford junction with London Northwestern Railway
2020 – Commission of new website for the CRP. The Partnerships’ website was redesigned by Tessellate, giving it a refreshed look and lots more information for journey planning resources, local community information and projects.
2020 – Donated toys in lieu of not being able to have a Christmas events due to Covod-19 , to Toy Drive run by Watford FC
2021 – Travel with Confidence with Watford Mencap, Building Better Opportunities and London North Western Railway
2021 – New planters at stations from the Community Improvement fund to help enhance our stations.
2021 – Start of new Community Garden at Garston
2021 – The CRP also bid for funds to improve the waiting shelters at Watford North & How Wood stations which will be managed and carried out by the train operator, London North Western Railway. With designs by Groundwork East, the work is expected to be completed by October 2021.
Every year, we host a number of events in our local community- namely the popular Christmas Santa events, Halloween train event, Summer Fun Day and Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership Open Day. Below are a selection of photos from past events.
This has proven to be a great way of getting to meet the community we work in, travelling on the train -a first for some of the attendees and having lots of fun !
We hope to welcome you at a future Community Rail event soon.