Stationmaster is chuffed to be named tourism superstar


A LOCAL heritage railway stationmaster has been named as a tourism superstar by the English national tourist board, winning one-third of the final vote.

Kent & East Sussex Railway (K&ESR) Chief Stationmaster Geoff Colvin overtook eight rivals from across the country to win VisitEngland’s ‘Tourism Superstar Award 2023’, the heritage attraction said last week.

“Geoff is the first representative from a heritage railway to not only be shortlisted, but to ultimately win the coveted award in its 11-year history,” added K&ESR.

Having only joined the volunteer-run railway in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, Mr Colvin was promoted rapidly, becoming Chief Stationmaster last year.

Stationmasters greet passengers as they start their journey on the 10½-mile heritage route, pulled by steam and diesel engines.

K&ESR General Manager Robin Coombes said: “Our volunteers are the heart and soul of our railway and we couldn’t be more proud of Geoff.

“This is not only an accolade for him, but an important recognition for the countless contributions of the hundreds of volunteers who selflessly give their time to the railway to keep its history alive and accessible to all.”

Mr Colvin said: “The outcome, and especially the proportion of people that voted for me, was a huge surprise, given how impressive all the other finalists were.

“I am particularly honoured to be the first representative from a heritage railway to win.
It’s a real recognition of how the preservation movement has grown to be a vital part of local tourism, bringing value to the communities it serves and to those who give their time.”

Calling Mr Colvin a “standout example” of the ‘Superstars’ promoted by the tourist board, VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said: “He gives every passenger, young and old, unforgettable experiences with his passion for our wonderful railway heritage.”

Chief Stationmaster Colvin works across the K&ESR line, at both Tenterden and Bodiam stations.

The spring season starts on April 1, with tickets and timetables available at:

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