Knaresborough rail station has won a prestigious national award for the transformation of some of its disused buildings into stunning modern community facilities.
The award recognises, acknowledges, and rewards the very best in restoration, conservation, and re-use of Britain’s historic railway infrastructure for the public’s benefit. The National Railway Heritage Awards have been presented annually since 1979, and granted charitable status in 2004.
Knaresborough station was originally built in 1851 and is grade II listed, meaning any restoration or changes needed to be carefully and tastefully planned. The station is now managed by Northern and is served by two services an hour in both directions to York and Harrogate.
In recent times, the station has benefitted from significant investment in a new tearoom, antique store, picture-framing business, and a contemporary gin and real ale bar. The new and updated facilities have created a real community asset that is positively buzzing throughout the day rather than being just an arrival and departure point.
The Track and Sleeper bar is located on platform 2 and operated by craft beer brewers, The Gorilla Brothers, of Mexborough in South Yorkshire. They transformed derelict storage rooms into what has become a popular micropub.
Tony Baxter, Northern’s Regional Director, said “We are delighted with the new look Knaresborough and the super facilities that have been delivered as part of the investment programme.
“The Heritage award is great recognition for the team’s vision of transforming disused buildings into busy and active businesses.
“The station now offers more than just trains and it is great to see the community embracing all the facilities provided.”
Jason White, Co-Founder of Gorilla Brothers, said “We had been looking for a second venue for our growing business and fell in love with Knaresborough station when we first saw it.
“It’s Victorian facade and mix of Hercule Poirot and The Orient Express look and feel was exactly the right vibe for us.
“It has been great to work with Northern and Network Rail and together we have transformed the disused space into a really smart and contemporary bar.
“It looks fantastic, and I’m delighted that since we opened in June we have been really popular both with commuters and residents of Knaresborough. I’d urge everyone to come down and enjoy a relaxed drink with us in a unique venue.”
Luke Seaton from Lambert, Smith and Hampton, who have helped to let the various new units at the station said:
“This is a great example of Northern, Network Rail, Harrogate Council, the Railway Heritage Trust and tenants working together to breathe new life back into disused station buildings in line with Northern’s ‘Destination Stations’ initiative, with further similar projects in the pipeline.”