A colourful stained glass window is set to brighten up the days of commuters travelling from Grantham railway station.
The window, which depicts the famous Mallard locomotive, was officially unveiled today (Wednesday) in the platform 2 waiting room.
It was created by Nottingham artist Mike Brown, who has worked with stained glass for nearly 40 years. When the Mallard locomotive celebrated 75 years of its steam speed record in 2013, a seed was planted in his mind to create a lasting tribute at Grantham’s station. When he saw the Mallard on display in Grantham in that anniversary year, he decided the time was right to use his talent to make something special for station users and the local community.
He said: “All the avenues seemed to come together at the same time – the celebration of steam engineering, its travel from Grantham, the record being made at Stoke Bank, just south of the town, and the sheer number of people who came to see it.”
So Mike set out to create a stained glass window depicting the Mallard to be put into the waiting room on Platform 2. He appealed to the public and local businesses to support his work, which began in January 2014 and was completed a year later.
And today, it was unveiled in a ceremony organised by Virgin Trains, which manages the station.
I hope the window will give people travelling through Grantham as much pleasure as I got from creating itArtist Mike Brown
Mike said: “I hope the window will give people travelling through Grantham as much pleasure as I got from creating it.”
Virgin Trains’ major projects director Tim Hedley-Jones said: “We’re delighted to be supporting this sort of dedication to the railways shown by local people. Mike has created a lasting tribute to the great steam locomotive that means so much to the people of Grantham and its surrounds. The stained glass window is a wonderful colourful addition to the waiting room and a fitting tribute to the Mallard’s speed record.”
The ceremony was also used as an opportunity to officially open the station’s new customer information office on platform 1.
Just before the ribbon was cut, Virgin Trains’ major projects director Tim Hedley-Jones gave a speech. To those gathered, he said: “Grantham has always been at the heart of development in the rail industry. Just down the route was where the Mallard achieved its record-breaking run, and even now, our new trains that will come into service in 2018 are being tested just out of this station, so we really are at the heart of the future of Vrigin Trains East Coast.
“To show that it’s not something that’s happening in the future, it’s happening today, we are really proud to deliver one of our first investments here in Grantham; a new information office. It’s for customers, it’s for the benefit of the people of Grantham. They already have a great relationship with our station and our staff and they will now be able to enjoy it in a much better environment.”
The ribbon was then cut by Mayor of Grantham Councillor Jacky Smith, along with Mr Hedley-Jones and chairman of South Kesteven District Council Coun Ray Wootten.
Coun Smith said of the stained glass window: “It’s lovely to have it for all the people who come through Grantham station to see it.”
The service offers enhanced advice and information to travellers in comfortable surroundings and is part of a bigger package of improvements and more personalised services at stations right across the company’s East Coast route.