THE TEAM charged with upgrading Bolton Train Station has sought inspiration at the site of a famous film.

Members of the Bolton Station Community Development Partnership took a trip to Carnforth Station, in Lancashire, to see what community activists can achieve.

In 1945, the site was the setting for the famous David Lean film ‘Brief Encounter’, but it has since become a model for group's looking to do something different at their local railway station.

Today, Carnforth hosts a cafe & bar, a museum, a children’s play area, a bookshop and even a small cinema. It is mostly staffed by volunteers and is run by a charitable trust with a lease from Network Rail.

A dozen members of Bolton's partnership, assisted by Northern, visited the station on Wednesday, March 20 to look at what had been accomplished and get some ideas for their own project.

"We were really impressed by what has been achieved at Carnforth," said Prof. Paul Salveson, chair of the partnership.

“What was once a derelict shell is now a thriving tourist attraction and a busy station.

"The role of the volunteers in running the museum and bookshop was impressive, but we also recognised the highly commercial way in which the cafe and bar was run, with paid staff.”

The Bolton Station Community Development Partnership is an organisation which includes community groups, individuals, Bolton Council and the University of Bolton working together to create a community hub at Bolton station.

Working with Northern, TransPennine Express, Network Rail and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), the partnership has already scored a number of successes, including a well-attended community gala last year.

Now, with funding from Network Rail, work is underway to bring a large swathe of unused space on platforms 4 and 5 back to use for community activities.

In addition, the former ‘guards’ messroom’ on platform 5 has already become a well-used community space, with a series of open meetings planned for this Spring.

Prof Salveson added: "We’ve a long way before we can make Bolton as exciting a destination as Carnforth but the potential is there and we want to work with the council and rail industry to achieve our vision of making the station a welcoming and positively exciting gateway to our town."

Anyone interested in getting involved in the group can attend the next open meeting at the Community Room on Platform 5 on Tuesday April 2.

This will include a talk by Richard Lysons on Amazing Women by Rail – women who have been involved in arts, politics and business who are linked together by the Northern rail network.

The meeting starts at 7.30pm and admission. Attendees should let station guards know they are there for the meeting and will be allowed through to the platform.