A striking collection of new artwork by young people, entitled ‘People and Places of Penkridge’, has been created for Penkridge station on London Midland’s Birmingham to Liverpool route.
The innovative designs, featuring photography of the Staffordshire market town and its people, were designed by five Year 12 Art and Design students at Penkridge’s Wolgarston High School. James Bayliss, David Errington, Matthew Evans, Emily Harvey-Stephens and Harriet Murray are currently studying for a BTEC in Art and Design. The project, using double exposure photography, formed an important part of their coursework.
The research process for the project involved working with the community, including local traders, to build up a portfolio of images to inform the final designs. The new artwork comprises two large contrasting canvases, each five metres in length, featuring the message ‘Welcome to our community’. These have been installed by the London Midland Property team as a permanent display on each of the two station platforms, creating a much-improved welcome to the station and gateway to the town.
The project is a joint venture with North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership (NSCRP), which worked closely with Wolgarston High School to develop the designs, and with the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) which provided sponsorship from their Small Grants Fund.
Faye Lambert, head of community rail at London Midland, said: “This pretty town with its strong community feel was not previously obvious when passing through the station. My idea was to enable young people to learn through a project that would bring the vibrant community of Penkridge into the station in a unique and sustainable way. Congratulations to the student team for interpreting the brief perfectly; their inspiring designs superbly illustrate what is great about their local area and its residents.”
Head of Wolgarston High, Philip Tapp, said: “We are delighted to be part of the ‘People and Places of Penkridge’ community rail project. Our students are passionate and creative learners and have responded brilliantly to the challenge. It is wonderful for them to be part of something which will bring enjoyment and reflection to the local community and to thousands of rail passengers over the years to come.”
This is the second community rail artwork project for Penkridge station, which has benefitted from London Midland’s new partnership with NSCRP, which was formed in 2017. This partnership is enabling the extension of community rail objectives to more Staffordshire stations.
Marika Latham, project officer for NSCRP, said: “Railway stations are an important part of the communities they serve. This excellent work by Wolgarston High students has ensured that the community can now be recognised as the very foundation of Penkridge station. It has been a privilege to work with them to showcase their ideas and provide a really welcoming environment for passengers. Special thanks also to Mark Smith, marketing manager at the Penk Valley Federation of Schools, for his incredible support with the project.”
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Since 2007, London Midland has been providing train services to and from London in the south, to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool in the north-west. Over 70 million passenger journeys a year are made using on the network and London Midland manages 150 stations and operates 1,300 services a day.
London Midland is owned by Govia, the partnership between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. Govia is the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for nearly 30 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its three rail companies, GTR (which includes Gatwick Express services), Southeastern and London Midland. Further information on Govia is available at www.govia.info
London Midland has won a range of awards, including Best Local Transport Integration, five Rail Business Awards for marketing, public relations and customer information, five Golden Spanner Awards for Engineering, three IOIC awards for internal communication and five Railstaff Awards for Outstanding Customer Service, Lifesaving and Charity Work. In 2017 London Midland was named as Britain's most improved train company by the Institute of Rail Operators and the UK's most improved organisation for customer service in the UKCSI survey.
In 2017 London Midland was also awarded the Investors in People (IiP) Gold Award and the 5 Star award by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in 2014. Achievements for working with communities recognised with an International Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) award (2017), an HR Excellence award for Best CSR Strategy (2017) and five national Community Rail awards (2017).