Kent Community Rail Partnership has worked with a wide range of partners in our communities to add artwork, history boards, information panels and murals to brighten our stations and highlight the local area.
The Kent Downs Line is the most recent addition to the Kent Community Rail Partnership. We are working to introduce artwork that celebrates communities along the line today, their history and the natural beauty of the Kent Downs National Landscape.
The second resulted from a design competition held at the local North School, whose pupils use the underpass every day.
The winning designs were recreated on the wall, with images celebrating Ashford’s rich history.
Ashford College adopted Ashford International station in March 2022 and work collaboratively with Kent CRP to improve the passenger experience whilst using the station. Their first improvement was to add Platinum Jubilee designed community artwork to the station underpass. The students and tutors undertook a massive community engagement project whereby they connected with 26 community groups. Each group submitted a piece of Jubilee artwork to replace the existing tired and peeling panels.
Sixty one panels were designed and fitted to form an exciting and interesting entrance from the station’s front foyer to the platforms.
The grand unveiling took place on Friday 27 May 2022 when 140 community members lined the underpass to rip off the paper coverings to expose the impressive Jubilee bonanza.
In 2023, Leah Bunting and Claudia Otto, Students from Ashford College designed “A Fish out of Ashford”, creating a fabulous welcome to the town for people arriving by rail.
The artwork was inspired by the flow and movement associated with Ashford as a transport hub. The flow of the trains coming and going, the flow of the Great Stour River, that runs through the town and past the station.
Kent Community Rail Partnership were delighted to work with the students and Southeastern to create a warm welcome to the town by refurbishing a tired set of planters outside the station.
The artwork formed part of the acclaimed Ashford Unframed art trail.
Adoption of the station by both Charing Parish Council and Heath Farm School has brought opportunities to engage both communities and Ashford College in work to brighten the station environment.
One simple and impactful change has been the whitewashing of the stones that spell out the station name, showing that the community values and cares for this space once again.
Major improvement works of Maidstone East station were completed by Network Rail with the official opening taking place in December 2021.
An impressive 3.5m by 2m high sculpture of ‘Iggy’ the dinosaur was also unveiled at the opening event, as a nod to the 125 million-year-old dinosaur fossils discovered in the town in the Victorian era. Long before Jurrassic Park people were fascinated by dinosaurs, so much so that the Iguanodon even features on Maidstone Borough’s coat of arms.