National prize for Whaley’s railway ambassador

Joint winners Stephen Sharp (left) and Paul Mitchell with award sponsor Chris Godbold, from The Transport Benevolent Fund.
Joint winners Stephen Sharp (left) and Paul Mitchell with award sponsor Chris Godbold, from The Transport Benevolent Fund.

A New Mills man hailed as an “ambassador for the railways” has landed a national industry award for his efforts to transform the fortunes of a local station.

Stephen Sharp, 49, who works for Northern Rail, was named the joint winner of the Station Staff of the Year Award at this year’s RailStaff Awards event on October 5.

Since arriving at the station in October 2012, Stephen, who used to be a conductor at Manchester Victoria station, has not only helped increase ticket sales, he has brought Whaley Bridge back into the community.

Nominating Stephen, passenger and councillor Alistair Stevens said: “Stephen has been running our station for nearly a year now.

“Before his arrival it was not a nice place to start your journey.

“The booking office was never open on time, we had a variety of staff who served tickets and nothing else.

“Stephen arrives an hour before his shift every day, no matter what the weather.

“He is so polite and pleasant to everyone. We all talk to each other on the platform now, which we never used to.”

Andy Milne, RailStaff editor, said: “It is difficult to compress into a few words the sum of what Stephen Sharp has achieved at Whaley Bridge. The nominations cover several pages and it is all good stuff.

“Stephen has succeeded in placing Whaley Bridge station right at the heart of the community it serves.

“He must rank as one of the best ambassadors for railways in the business.”