Article Author – Phil Neal
Original Photographs – Phil McIver
VIP Event – Dedication ceremony for the official opening of Lawley Village Station.
Telford Steam Railway was host to all all-star cast of local dignitaries on Friday 30th October for the official dedication of the new Lawley Village station. Thankfully the presence of so many important visitors to railway had a positive impact on the weather, as the forecast of heavy rain was thankfully absent to be replaced by autumnal sunshine!
After many hours (days!) of preparation the guests assembled at about 10:30 to be greeted by volunteers, many of which were quite uncharacteristically wearing suits and ties and very shiny shoes! After a small amount of herding people slowly made their way to a very clean DMU and the invited guests made their way to the front of the train, and the volunteers on duty used local knowledge to requisition the first class compartment at the back, the service then promptly departed a few minutes after 11:00.
On arrival at Lawley Village passengers disembarked and assembled around the recently build GWR Pagoda waiting room, resplendent in it’s even more recently applied paint, and Chairman Paul Hughes delivered a heartfelt speech about the work that went into the new line extension and the building of Lawley Village station.
After Paul had finished he handed over to the President of Telford Steam Railway, Rt Hon Lord Grocott of Telford, who praised the work of the volunteers who completed the work. Finally Lord Grocott pulled the green flag off the plaque dedicating the station to the “perseverance and hard work of the volunteers”.
Following the stirring speeches. Guests and volunteers mingled on the platform and photographs were taken of just about everything, until there was the mention of a reception in the Furnace Tea Room. Everyone bundled back on the train, with some VIPs finding the first class compartment this time, where discussions continued with the resident volunteers.
As the saying goes “no such thing as a free lunch”, and so it was in the Café. The VIP Visitors were treated to a rousing lecture on the future plans of the railway, illustrated by large scale plans of the route to Buildwas, as they ate the exceptional spread that had been laid on.
All in it was a real treat by all assembled to witness such an important milestone for the railway, one which it is hoped will be repeated for the opening of Doseley station in the not too distant future.