The new waiting room at Moreton-in-Marsh station was officially opened on the afternoon of Friday, July 5.
A plaque to mark the occasion was unveiled by Cotswolds MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and Diana Barr and Jackie Jessop, the sisters of the late CLPG stalwarts Oliver Lovell and John Stanley respectively. It will be installed inside the building.
The two longstanding committee members left legacies to the group which were put towards the cost of building the £400,000 structure, along with a substantial contribution from Great Western Railway’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund and grants from Gloucestershire County Council and other local authorities.
As well as providing modern facilities for passengers catching trains towards Oxford, Reading and London, the room on platform 2 can also be used for meetings by the CLPG and community groups in the town.
Oliver, the founder and past chairman and promotions officer of the CLPG, lived in Moreton-in-Marsh, and John was the group’s longstanding membership secretary and newsletter editor.
Work to create a further memorial to John, at his home station of Charlbury, is due to begin later this month.
Philip Delaney, GWR’s sales and marketing director, welcomed guests to the event and said the train operator was “really pleased to play a part in realising the vision for providing the building, but it all started with Oliver, John and the CLPG”.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester, the CLPG’s president, said the building would provide a lasting memorial to Oliver and John’s contributions to the CLPG.
He recalled their roles in fighting British Rail’s moves to close the line between Moreton-in-Marsh and Evesham in the late 1970s and campaigning since then to maintain and improve train services and the route’s infrastructure.
This had led to the track redoubling project at the start of the decade, subsequent service improvements, and ultimately to the North Cotswold Line Taskforce, which he chairs.
This group, bringing together the rail industry, local authorities and user groups, including the CLPG, is drawing up a detailed plan for the future development of the route, with the aim of driving further infrastructure improvements and eventually providing a service of two trains per hour between London and Worcester all day.
Nigel Moor, Moreton-in-Marsh’s county councilor, said that the authority’s investment in the project was a demonstration of the increasingly important role the council saw for the county’s railway services in coming years, which would be reflected in its new transport plans.
Sir Geoffrey said the CLPG had worked incredibly hard for the line for many years. He looked forward to further improvements to build on the success of the redoubling project, to speed up services and improve connectivity in the future.
A surprise special guest at the event was the Labour Party’s deputy leader, Tom Watson MP, who was waiting to catch a train home to Worcestershire after attending a sustainable farming conference held near Stow-on-the-Wold.