All aboard for Gobowen station revamp
The doors to Gobowen’s derelict station buildings have been opened for the first time in more than a decade.
Gobowen Area Improvement Group has bought the empty buildings on the platform at the historic station and plans to restore the railway to its former glory.
The ambitious plans include restoring the line from Gobowen to Oswestry station, stopping off at the Orthopaedic Hospital along the way.
Members of the group collected the keys to the building on Thursday morning and surveyed the extent of the damage.
Sheila Dee, of the Chester Shrewsbury Rail Partnership and a member of the group, said the building had huge potential. “The outside of the building needs rendering and there’s a lot of damp and mould on the inside but it’s a great space,” she said. “There’s a huge amount of work; it’s a big challenge but we want to turn it into something for the community.”
They are appealing for plasterers, painters, electricians, joiners, glaziers and more to volunteer their skills to refurbish the inside which has been empty for 15 years.
Three Parishes Big Local provided the group with a £30,000 grant and an £80,000 loan – more than they have ever given out before – and the Oswestry Station Building Trust acted as the facilitator and official owner.
Glenn Pennington, partner at Three Parishes Big Local said: “Obviously it is a lot of money out of our million pound budget, but when I met with the group and they showed us the plans and their vision, I thought it would be extremely beneficial to the community.
“It will create employment and people would be able step off the train at Gobowen and get a tram along the line to the Orthopaedic Hospital. It’s exciting.”
It is estimated that the improvement work will cost nearly £200,000 so the group will be fundraising to make up the shortfall.
Mrs Dee added: “We want to keep an open mind and would like to hear suggestions of possible uses, but ideally it would be great to keep it as something for the community that would generate rent.”
She added that footfall at the station grew by six per cent last year to more than 200,000.