Cafe serving Italian gelato breathing new life into rural railway station

Platform 1 at Shawford at night <i>(Image: South Western Railway)</i>
Platform 1 at Shawford at night (Image: South Western Railway)

NOW arriving at platform one is a cafe and community space breathing new life into Shawford Station's disused Victorian waiting room and ticket office. 

Platform 1, a community café serving coffee, cakes and real Italian gelato, has opened its doors in the previously derelict space providing a much-needed place for locals, travellers, and visitors to the small Hampshire village to get refreshments.

The refurbished building, which has enjoyed a £350,000 investment, will also offer a community space and kitchen for local groups in the area to use.

READ MORE: The Hampshire village pub with award-winning food

The Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership believed that the dilapidated building, which had stood unused for 40 years, could be brought back into daily use as a flexible community space and café and approached South Western Railway (SWR) with a bid for funding from its Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF).

SWR agreed with their idea and contributed just under £200,000 of the total renovation cost, with the remaining funding coming from the Railway Heritage Trust, Winchester City Council, fellow train operator CrossCountry, and the South Downs National Park.

Marco Bertacchini, of Platform 1, told the Daily Echo: "We’re very grateful for the opportunity to offer the people of Shawford great coffee in such a unique location."

Shawford railway station lies between Eastleigh and Winchester 69 miles down the line from London Waterloo and serves the villages of Twyford, Compton and Shawford.

In 2000, the station was used in the final episode of the popular BBC TV series One Foot in the Grave, which saw the demise of grumpy Victor Meldrew. He is seen walking from the steps down from the station platform. He then stands in front of the station sign, waiting to be picked up, before being run over by a car.

It was also featured briefly in a 1974 film starring Sophia Loren, an unsuccessful and now little-seen remake of Brief Encounter.

Both Veronika Krcalova, SWR’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund Manager and Nick Farthing, Chair of Three Rivers CRP, wished Marco and his team every success with the new venture.


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