A ONCE neglected suburban railway station has been dramatically transformed thanks to dozens of helping hands.

The platform at Cherry Tree station in Blackburn has been improved after volunteers, the council and a local artist came together.

The project, called 'All Change at Cherry Tree', was aimed at reconnecting the community with the station and reducing anti-social behaviour.

Pupils at Feniscowles Primary School worked with artist Alastair Nicholson, Blackburn College, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Community Rail Lancashire (CRL) on the project, funded via the Blackburn with Darwen Local Transport Plan and the Council’s CONNECT project.

More than 10 tonnes of rubbish and vegetation was cleared, more than 2,000 bulbs and 150 plants planted, 11 pieces of artwork created as well as a sculpture of stone ceramic alongside bird boxes and insect hotels that have been made to compliment the new waiting shelters.

The project has also seen the fencing repaired and repainted and CCTV installed to help commuters feel safe.

The scheme was part of the development of local rail stations in the borough, having recently completed work at Mill Hill station in partnership with Northern Rail, Network Rail and the Community Rail Partnership.

Coun Maureen Bateson, executive member for regeneration, said: “The number of people using these stations has dramatically increased over the past few years and it is a testament to the work of the council, in partnership with the Community Rail Partnership, that investment is being respected at these once problem stations.

“Involving our young people in these projects has been a priority to give them a real sense of ownership and pride for their own environment.

"I would like to thank everyone for their hard work on creating a welcoming and colourful waiting environment that we can all be proud of.”

Richard Watts, CRL partnership secretary, said: "Community Rail Lancashire has been proud to work with its partner Blackburn with Darwen Council to develop this imaginative project at Cherry Tree.

“Highlighting the proximity of the station to Witton Park will give a boost to the numbers using the station for leisure and recreational purposes as well as for the more normal trips to school, college, work and shopping.

“The development of the virtual mine shaft linking the station to Witton Park has been a real highlight for this project and has involved a large cross section of the community.

“We hope that passengers will appreciate the new and improved facilities and take time to look at the other changes that make Cherry Tree and much pleasanter place today to catch the train."