A large crowd gathered in the newly refitted, and beautifully decorated, waiting room on the Marshlink platform at Ashford International Station recently to celebrate two events: the launch of a moving and sensitive film, All Change For Ashford, about the lives of railway workers, commuters and their families during the Covid-19 pandemic; looking at their fears, struggles and hopes for the future.

It was produced by Stephen Israel of The Company  and was filmed by Ashford’s Modus Productions. This project was funded by Southeast Communities Rail Partnership with Arts Council and Ashford Borough Council funding among others, and with help from Southeastern Railway. It is an excellent example of working together in partnership.

It coincided with the refurbishment of the waiting room – renamed Chuffers Rest – a project initiated by platform staff at Ashford International. They have been tireless in their work on this which included sourcing recycled seating from carriages from an InterCity 70,  salvaged from Norfolk, and tables from a Class 365 Networker Express saved by East Kent Railway Trust.

I can testify that the seating areas are very comfortable and also have useful charging points. The area has been transformed from a drab waiting area to a well-thought-out, original and pleasing space. Hurrah!!

Photo: The Mayor of Ashford Borough Council, Councillor Jenny Webb, cuts the ribbon to launch All Change for Ashford and the refurbished waiting room, in front of a large group of people at Ashford International Station. Credit: Ashford Borough Council.


Woman wearing Mayoral Chain cutting blue ribbon in front of people in waiting room area