FORMER RAIL STATION IS GIVEN NEW LEASE OF LIFE
Café opens in Brackley 50 years on from the end of an era
By Stuart Prestidge
Last week marked the beginning of a new chapter for Brackley’s former railway station and, by coincidence, coincided with the 50th anniversary of a landmark occasion.
The whistling of trains have not been heard at Brackley Central station for decades but the whistling of kettles will now fill the refurbished Victorian building on Burwell Hill as it opened last Friday as Brackley Central Cafe.
New owner Martyn Edwards said: “We thought the Brackley Central train station could be saved, as it were. It was an ATS tyre place beforehand.
“There was a ‘Save Brackley railway station’ campaign by locals. They thought we were going to knock it down and build houses, but we, basically, surprised them.”
He added: “We spent a small fortune renovating it and hopefully bringing it back to its former glory.”
By sheer happenstance, following the three –month renovation work, Friday’s soft opening coincided with the anniversary of June 13, 1943, when signalman, Mr. L. Wills, pulled the last signal marking the end of an era that began in 1899.
The coincidences didn’t stop there. Martyn said: “This morning a gentleman cane in and he said: “I see you have the last signalman’s lament on the wall. My surname is Wills.”
“I didn’t realise the significance and he tells me ‘I’m his son’. So we had the son of the signalman who closed the station as customer.
He added: “We had some real railway enthusiasts in here and I went and introduced him to them and they could not contain themselves.”
Then the press cutting goes on to talk about the café which the owners and staff hope can build on the success of the opening day and become an important focal point of the town.
The Brackley & Towcester Advertiser – 21 June 2019