Station reopens after £100,000 restoration
WHEN Whitecroft Station closed in 1929, the Wall Street Crash had hit the world and times were hard.
More than 80 years later, however, the station has re-opened thanks to a £100,000 restoration project.
As the last in a long line of stations revamped along the old Severn & Wye Railway, Whitecroft has been recreated as it would have looked in its heyday.
Passengers can now jump on board a train between Lydney and Parkend.
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Dean Forest Railway spokesmanStuart Bearne said: "Up until now, the train has been running along the line and passing through Whitecroft and it has long been our intention to restore the station and finally we have done it.
"We have completely recreated the station, because it had been demolished and all we had to work with at the start was the platform.
"It is a great achievement because the last time passengers boarded at Whitecroft was in 1929.
"Now we have a traditional waiting room and booking hall and many other features from the 1920s.
"We want visitors to not only come here and board the train, but also to visit the station itself and feel free to just have a walk around and appreciate this fantastic creation."
Much of the funding for the project came through a grant from the Rural Development Program for England, which was administered by the Forest of Dean Local Action Group in Coleford.
The programme of work involved the building of a four-coach platform on one side of the line towards Parkend, with the new station built in traditional Severn and Wye style.
The Dean Forest Railway (DFR) is built, maintained and operated almost entirely by unpaid voluntary members of the of the society.
Future developments in Whitecroft will involve a platform on the other side of the line, a goods shed, and doubling of the track through the station.
The Dean Forest Railway Society, which acts as a support organisation for the railway, was originally formed in 1970 to preserve the Lydney to Parkend branch line.
The first Steam Open Day took place in October 1971, with Peckett locomotive Uskmouth I hauling brake van rides over 200 feet of siding.
Members were soon keen to shake off a reputation as being the "world's shortest passenger railway" and, when British Rail finally announced the closure of the line to traffic in the early 1980s, it enabled DFR to complete the purchase of most of the track and land in 1985.
By 2006, DFR had acquired the line between Lydney Town station and Parkend Station and trains have been running between the two ever since, once they had been restored to their former glory.
Whitecroft was the last piece in the jigsaw and the line now offers the full authentic experience through all the stations.