As 2021 draws to a close we are pleased to bring you news that work is really starting to ramp up on delivering the project.

In July we reported that the £250,000 grant from London Northwestern Railway’s ‘Customer and Communities Improvement Fund’ (CCIF) had been confirmed. All of this is now in our bank account and raring to be spent.

In August we were also delightful to be awarded a further £67,000, this time from the Railway Heritage Trust.

Since then we have been progressing with the key enabling works:

  • Our architects, Sheldon Peever Studio of St Albans, have finalised the drawings and accompanying schedules and we have gone out to tender. We are expecting three firms to quote for the work and we will make a decision about who to appoint as our Main Contractor very early in the New Year, based on several criteria including but not limited to price, ability to undertake the work in our very tight timescales (needs to be fundamentally complete by end of April), and experience of working on sensitive heritage restorations.
  • Paul Amsterdam, one of our Trustees, has been appointed as our Project Manager. As well as bringing a wealth of experience to the role from his day job in property restoration and build, he couldn’t be geographically better placed to manage the work, living as he does in the old Fox and Hounds pub, directly opposite the station!
  • The relevant statutory permissions have been sought, and obtained, from the railway authorities.
  • Purchase orders have been placed for reconnection of the electricity to the building.
  • Application has been made to St Albans Building Control to approve the detailed plans.
  • Updated quotes have been obtained for the supply of doors and windows, a supplier has been selected, and an order will be placed in the first week of January. Having the windows and doors in place at the earliest possible opportunity is key to achieving the deadline of end of April, since clearly they are needed to make the building weatherproof so that internal fit-out can commence.

In addition to these activities relating to delivering the project, we are pleased to report that:

  • We have been working with local catering/café expertise to help us finalise the kitchen design which will serve our tearoom.
  • Geraint Hughes, one of our members, and formerly a railway employee himself, has very kindly offered to make us a 1:43 scale model of the station building, which in time will proudly adorn the wall of the tea room in a suitable display case where visitors can view it and thus get a really good appreciation of how the station used to originally look in its early days.
  • Much archive material including some long-lost detailed LNWR construction drawings of the station, photos/negatives, stories, tickets, and other information has very kindly been donated to us by Michael Korn who some people may remember used to live in the village until emigrating to Canada in the mid-1970s. In due course we will reproduce and publish this material either to adorn the tea room walls itself or on our website, or both.

There will no doubt be bumps on the road ahead but this time next year, if all goes to plan, we shall be able to invite you all for Mulled Wine and Mince Pies at our suitably decorated station – just think of that!

In the meantime the Trust would like to wish all our supporters a peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.