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No. 119

Kidsgrove Rail Campaigner Honoured

Talke Pits resident Jon Honeysett has been made an MBE in the New Year Honours list for his services to rail in Kidsgrove where he also promotes canal initiatives.

Jon is passionate about the importance of good transport links and the role they play in areas. He has been a member of the Kidsgrove Environmental Watch Response Group since 2003 and was nominated by fellow member Mr Michael Piddock, endorsed by members Mr John Gibson and founder Ray Heath, in 2011. Sadly, Mr Piddock died suddenly at home on Tuesday 4th September 2012 before the MBE was announced. Jon says it is a tremendous surprise to learn he has been awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours List for 2013 – ‘For Services to Rail at Kidsgrove.’ The award is the culmination of a campaign’s first stage, begun on 24th March 2004, with unanimous support by the Town Council of Kidsgrove, to modernise Kidsgrove Station by upgrading it, ultimately, to an Integrated Transport Interchange, or ‘Hub’. Jon says “I must pay tribute to all members of the Kidsgrove community who supported the project, including the “Friends of Kidsgrove Volunteers” for their fantastic success rejuvenating the four platform gardens, the local school pupils, whose artwork has brightened the station’s infrastructure, and the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership promotion of Kidsgrove, with modernised Waiting Rooms and electronic train information screens.” Jon championed the campaign to reintroduce the stopping service from Stafford to Manchester which has increased the frequency of train services at Kidsgrove from one, to three trains per hour, which was achieved in December 2008. He also promoted the inclusion of Kidsgrove to the new hourly electric train ser-


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vice from Crewe to London Euston introduced by London Midland planners. This gave Kidsgrove its first ever direct train to the capital. Both services enhanced the existing East Midlands Trains Crewe-Stoke-Derby hourly service. The campaign’s next priority is to ensure construction of a Disability Discrimination Act-compliant ramped over-bridge connecting all four Kidsgrove platforms as part of Network Rail’s ‘Access for All’ programme, with active support from Joan Walley MP, Newcastle Borough Council, and Staffordshire County Council Integrated Transport and Planning Department. Following on from this will hopefully be utilisation of the former Goods Yard as a large new Car Park, enabling the existing area to be a bus-turning point, linking bus services directly to local trains. The final project will be a massive upgrading of the Trent & Mersey Canal waterfront, with dredging, removal of graffiti, new lighting, towpath improvement, signage, and an extended wharf, secure for overnight southbound boat crews waiting passage through Harecastle Tunnel. Jon has a strong and very successful volunteer track record, having campaigned to bring about the construction of a brand new station in Hampshire at Hedge End. Opened in 1990 it will have been used by 2 million people by 2015, serving the community that has grown along the rail route between Eastleigh and Portsmouth. He was also instrumental in the reopening of Chandlers Ford station, 40 years on from it being ‘cut by Beeching’ in 1963. Before moving to Staffordshire, Jon lived in Hampshire, having moved down from London aged five. He served as an armourer in the RAF, as an ambulanceman with Hampshire Ambulance Service (16 years); and for British Railways Southern Region. Jon is also a member The Spitfire Society. No date has yet been forwarded for the Investiture at Buckingham Palace.

Jon Honeysett MBE

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Kidsgrove News (Feb / March 2013)  

Kidsgrove News is the local journal for the Kidsgrove area.

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