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Historic Carlisle station transformed in a makeover that is an inspiration for the future

Press Release   •   Feb 17, 2010 23:00 GMT

The historic Carlisle Citadel station is getting a new look this week as part of a campaign from national DIY retailer Homebase to transform spaces across the UK.

The station, designed in gothic style by Sir William Tite to complement the nearby stone towers of the Citadel in the heart of Carlisle, was opened in 1847 for the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway and the Caledonian Railway. Every year around 1.7 million passengers board or leave trains at the station.

It was identified last year by Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, as one of three stations most in need of improvement on the West Coast Main Line, the others being Preston and Crewe. He called for train operators to be given more freedom to invest in stations.

Virgin Trains, the company that manages these stations, would like to introduce permanent improvements and believes the next franchise for West Coast, due to start in 2012, should offer opportunities for positive investment. The Homebase project has confirmed Virgin’s belief that Carlisle Citadel station has the potential to be a truly attractive and welcoming gateway to the great Border City of Carlisle.

Ann Turner, Station Manager at Carlisle for Virgin Trains, said: “We’re very proud of our station, which looks amazing. The station is full of history and we love it. What has happened has really transformed it and shows what can be done.”

She added: “Response from the local community has been great. We’ve noticed passengers arriving a little bit earlier to allow extra time to enjoy the station and take it all in.”

This week’s impressive transformation, including turning the waiting room into a lounge, creating a garden on one platform, painting the connecting bridge and even installing a kitchen among other developments, has been warmly welcomed by local people. The process will be filmed for a national advertising campaign for Homebase to appear in the spring and summer starring local Carlisle people as extras.

The aim of the Homebase activity is to inspire and encourage people to transform their own homes and gardens. Upon completion this Saturday (20 February), passengers will be able to experience the new-look station for themselves, taking a seat on a sofa, picnicking on garden furniture or stopping to admire the foliage.

The advertising featuring Carlisle station and some of the city’s locals will be on TV from March.

For Homebase information please contact the Homebase press office at iris PR: / 020 7922 8122

Notes to Editors

Images of Virgin Trains and the company’s operations are available in the Image Library on our online Media Room website

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Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group. We have operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997; the current franchise runs to March 2012.

Virgin Rail Group is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach.

Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous industry awards. On 19 January 2010 the company was named Best Rail Operator of the Year at the Travel Globe Awards, voted for by readers of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard. In 2009 Virgin Trains was voted Best UK Domestic Train Service by Business Traveller magazine for the second year running; and named Best Rail Operator in the 2009 Group Leisure Awards, run by Group Leisure, the magazine for group travel organisers.

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