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South Western Railway (SWR) is celebrating a landmark milestone as over 100 of its stations are now adopted by local community volunteers, cementing its leadership in community engagement.

Station adopters are groups of volunteers who work with SWR on making the most out of their station spaces and environments and take a lead on imagining new and creative ways for their stations to better serve their communities and strengthening their place within their local area.

Station adoption at SWR began with the formal adoption by the Friends of Christchurch station in Dorset in 2007. Since then, SWR stations have been adopted in nine counties including Devon.

Groups in many towns and villages around the SWR network – from Pinhoe near Exeter all the way to Brentford in West London – have signed up to be station adopters, all brought together by a desire to do something to improve both their local station and local areas.

Across the network, station adopters have played a vital role in supporting social, cultural, and economic development in their local areas, creating a sense of community and inclusion, and enhancing the customer experience.

Station adopters include community groups, charities, and businesses. SWR funds their membership of the Community Rail Network, the national body of over 1,000 station adopters across different train operators, which provides access to grant opportunities from the SWR station adoption fund and the Community Rail Network, as well as additional training, advice, and resources.

Peter Williams, Customer and Commercial Director of South Western Railway, commented:

“The bond between South Western Railway and the communities we serve is of great importance to us and our fantastic station adopters have been vitally important in cultivating and deepening that relationship.

“Our station adopters are an integral part of the wider railway family, and it has been wonderful to see the many creative ways that they have contributed to local communities across the network as the number of adoption groups has expanded.

“I congratulate volunteers at Staines on becoming our 100th station adoption group and I look forward to seeing everything that they will achieve at our award-winning station.”

A video marking the milestone of 100 station adopters and highlighting some station adoption groups on the SWR network can be watched here.

More information about station adoption, as well as details regarding how local communities can volunteer to adopt their station, can be found on the SWR website here.

Stations adopted in Devon are:

Axminster – Axminster Station Adoption Group

Feniton – Friends of Feniton Station

Honiton – The Friends of Honiton Station

Pinhoe – Pinhoe Community Hub

Whimple – Friends of Whimple Station