Ellesmere Port. It's the unloved terminus of the Wirral Line. West Kirby and New Brighton have that glamorous seaside ambience. Chester is a hub with a historic past. Ellesmere Port's got a barely open ticket office, an inconvenient interchange with a barely used line, and is a mile from the town centre. On top of which, it's in Cheshire, the county that seems to treat its Merseyrail stations as irritations rather than assets.
That could all soon change. Cheshire West & Chester council, in association with Merseyrail, have put out a call for Friends of Ellesmere Station. CWAC (pronounced "Quack" by its employees, even though they're not meant to) want residents to help brighten the station up with gardening, tidying and general maintenance to make it a more attractive, less unpleasant place to hang out.
This does seem like a good idea on the surface, but my problem with it is: why is this a job for volunteers? Why isn't Quack funding the improvements themselves? Merseyside's stations are fully staffed while trains are running. Merseyside's stations are clean, bright, well-maintained. Some already have gardens, window boxes, artwork, thanks to the involvement of the local councils. The stations in Cheshire, with the exception of Chester, are unmanned, abandoned and a bit grim. Little Sutton's station building is boarded up. Capenhurst's station signs are pockmarked with dents. Overpool could do with a good wash. Even Bache - closest station to Chester Zoo and the University of Chester - is hidden behind a supermarket.
So I'm glad that Ellesmere Port could soon be getting a new shiny gleam. Station adoption has resulted in some great improvements across the country, and community involvement and commitment is obviously something to cherish. I wish someone was putting their hand in their pocket to fund a bit more than just a few hanging baskets.