The Friends of South Woodham Ferrers Station



After much lobbying, our station has finally been re-named.
With effect from the Summer 2007 new timetable, we have become South Woodham Ferrers - and our friends just down the line at Fambridge will be re-signed as North Fambridge. Cheers all round!

Our picture shows Mark Francois, MP, cutting the blue ribbon,
watched by Town Mayor Cllr Keith Miles.


The 'Friends of South Woodham Ferrers Station' is an umbrella term coined to describe a group of individuals who have elected to participate in the "Adopt a Station" initiative promoted by the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership (ESSCRP). Each individual member acts with the encouragement of a local organisation, business or voluntary society, but is solely responsible for their own conduct in relation to the "Adopt a Station" scheme. The Group will submit a monthly questionnaire return to ESSCRP, providing feedback on conditions at the station. In the event of any other official contact (e.g. in emergency) with ESSCRP or rail staff, members are asked to inform the Group Leader at the earliest possible opportunity.

Our adopted station is the gateway to South Woodham Ferrers, a new riverside town in the south Essex countryside. Commuter trains to London (Liverpool Street) cover the distance in just over 40 minutes. The station is currently managed by ‘ONE’ (the Station Facility Owner) who as the Station Franchisee and local Train Operating Company is responsible for ensuring that the station is in good decorative order and repair, as well as structurally sound, with a good standard of passenger information. For more information on these terms and their associated definitions please refer to the web site of the Office of the Rail Regulator

The ‘ONE’ Buildings Team makes a regular inspection of all station premises carrying out maintenance work and clearing litter and vegetation where required.

Network Rail is responsible for access to the station and the railway track; ‘ONE’ is responsible for all liaison with Network Rail.

What sort of people are associated with the Friends?

All sorts! We have a clergyman and various Church members, a schoolboy who attends William de Ferrers School, members of the local Horticultural Society and other helpers and wellwishers from local government and bodies such as the town's Community Safety Forum.

What kind of things are done by the Friends?

As part of the overall briefing for station adopters, we aim to:

  • Visit the relevant station and monitor its condition;
  • Alert the Community Rail Partnership or the train service provider to any damage, vandalism or disrepair;
  • Suggest improvements and ideas.

Each year we participate in the "Santa Special" by providing a group of carol singers to surprise Sunday travellers.

We have created a small garden within the car park, with active involvement of members of the SWF horticultural society.

At especially busy times (such as the week before Christmas) we carry out extra litter-picking sessions to support the efforts of 'ONE' staff in keeping the platforms tidy and welcoming.

There is a possibility that government legislation may at some point in the future give greater recognition and responsibility to groups such as the Friends. In the meantime we might start to look at ways of improving contact with local businesses who could benefit from increased rail usage. We might want to explore the possibilities of special events or other promotions that would bring tourists and shoppers to our station and its surroundings. We could also think of visiting a branch line where greater steps have been taken towards returning the railway to community ownership (the nearest place would be the Watford Junction to St Alban's Abbey branch).

Earlier News

Easter visitors to South Woodham Ferrers got a special welcome from a new mobile phone service. It’s the latest idea from the Friends of Woodham Ferrers railway station, a voluntary group linked with the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership.

"Car drivers looking for local attractions are helped by brown signs, but those on foot are not so well catered for" says Friends’ spokesperson Revd Paul Haworth. "People who do not live locally may not know the shortest walking route from the station to destinations such as Marsh Farm Country Park - our service aims to help them."

Visitors with WAP-enabled mobile phones key a code into their phone on arrival at the station. Their screen then fills with scrollable text and pictures to guide them on their way. The access request code is displayed on the Community Rail notice board near the booking office window. At present, the system is only able to guide people to Marsh Farm, but in the days ahead it is hoped to include other local destinations of interest to visitors.

The WAP compatible instructions were compiled in his spare time by the Revd Paul Haworth, whose "day job" is based at Holy Trinity Shared Church, where he is Vicar of the Church of England parish of South Woodham Ferrers. His new service is free of charge, users pay only the normal WAP connection charges. These vary from network to network, but Mr Haworth reckons anyone who pays by volume rather than by time should hardly notice the connection cost. Many mobile phone users will already be familiar with WAP as a means of obtaining real time travel news from train operator ‘One’ and journey planning information from ‘Transport for London’.

The Friends’ group has already spent many hours cultivating a new garden they have planted between the platform and the car park. About a dozen people keep a close eye on the station and notify any shortcomings to train operating company ‘ONE’. Through their support of the Community Rail Partnership the Friends hope to increase off-peak use of the Crouch Valley Line and also draw in visitors from stations in East London to spend time (and money) at local tourist attractions.



Group Leader:

The Revd Paul Haworth

Holy Trinity Shared Church,
South Woodham Ferrers

you can use the following link
to visit or re-visit the home page of
Town Clr Kathrine & the Revd Paul Haworth


or you may like to use this next link
to visit Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership