Volunteers from Network Rail and train company GWR recently joined forces with the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership and students from Plymouth University to give the disused platform and old signal box at Bere Alston Station a much-needed spring clean.

The local Scout group will be using the platform to plant and grow flowers, making the station brighter and more welcoming for passengers while developing their gardening skills and learning about biodiversity. The old signal box will be used as a potting shed, and as the volunteers discovered, it makes a good place to shelter from the rain.

The team braved the spring showers to spruce up the platform area and tidy up the old signal box, which closed in 1970 but had been used as a work space by a railway maintenance team until the 1990s.

The Community Rail Partnership has previously carried out renovations on the signal box, painting the exterior and taking old materials away. The volunteers removed unused furniture from the signal box and overgrown vegetation from the platform, ensuring that the site will be safe for the Scout group to start planting in the near future.

Máedóc Ellis, Network Rail customer support manager (community rail), said: ‘It was great to see representatives from the different organisations work together to make sure the unused areas of Bere Alston station were neatened up and ready for the arrival of the Scout group.

‘Supporting community projects means that we can work alongside local residents to improve public spaces, creating a welcoming environment for our passengers. I can’t wait to see how the Scouts get on with their gardening projects and hope to continue supporting their endeavours.’

Rebecca Catterall from Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, who helped coordinate the volunteers, said: ‘It was a great day, albeit a wet one, but everyone pulled together and worked incredibly hard. I am sure users of Bere Alston Station will notice a difference.’

The work at the station sounded a positive note after recent discontent over train cancellations from the station.

Commuters and schoolchildren accessing services in Plymouth were being left stranded at a moment’s notice after the train leaving Bere Alston first thing in the morning has repeatedly been cancelled and alternative transport often failing to materialise. At a public meeting held in the church hall in Bere Alston, GWR pledged to take action.