St Mary's Bay railway station
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|St Mary's Bay|
|A view of St Mary's Bay station looking towards New Romney|
|Place||St Mary's Bay|
|Stations on heritage railways in the United Kingdom|
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Situated off Jefferstone Lane the station has two platforms, one of which (the 'down' platform) is without station buildings. The other (the 'up' platform) has three buildings. The first is a booking office and when the station is staffed, a passenger waiting room, which also houses the control equipment for the adjacent level crossing. This building is joined to an open-fronted platform shelter with passenger seating. The third building is a toilet block, though this is reserved for staff use only.
Although no longer a block post for train control purposes, it was able to be used as such until 2000. The station has a single-aspect signal installation in the 'starter signal' position on the 'down' platform. The one displayable aspect is 'danger' (red). This is unusual in a non-block station. This signal has the outward appearance of being two-aspect, but this is an illusion, as one apparent signal aspect is in fact the repeater flashing light to indicate to train drivers that the adjacent level crossing (with Jefferstone Lane) signals have operated correctly to stop road traffic.
When first opened this station was named "Holiday Camp" after a nearby camp site for boys - 'The School Journey Centre'. It has also been known as "Jesson" (Jesson Lane being the former name for Jefferstone Lane) and "Holiday Camp Jesson". Since 1946 it has been known as "St Mary's Bay" apart from a period from the early 1980s until the end of 2000 when it was renamed "Jefferstone Lane". In 2000/2001 the station was refurbished in the current colour scheme of green and cream. A small garden was also established by the booking office.
Until the end of the 1990s this station was fully staffed during the summer period. Since then it has been staffed only on special event days or when surplus staff have been available. Generally passengers are now expected to purchase their tickets at their destination.
The station was refurbished and repainted in 2009 by a small group of volunteers, helped by the railway's paid staff, with the aim of the station being opened on special events with small, but appropriate, photographic displays within the booking office. This has already happened during the 2008 and 2009 "Home Guard" weekends.
Once the upgrading work on the level crossing has been completed, which involves the installation of level crossing barriers, there are plans to establish the station as a 'Haven for wildlife'. This will include the building of a dead hedge on the up platform, from the end of the toilet block to the Dymchurch end of the platform. Also the garden area will be replanted to encourage local wildlife along with the current assortment of bird feeders and bird boxes that are already present.
The station is currently used largely by local residents and passengers alighting here for the sandy beach.
There are currently plans being discussed to reduce the number of trains calling at the station during the 2010 season, partly because of the planned increase of trains calling at the Warren Halt, and to improve the timekeeping of some services. Nonetheless, the management of the railway are keen to see the improvements at the station continue, and have plans to revise the marketing of the station and the area in order to increase usage.
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