Rail to Sail

A special event was held at Heysham Port on Wednesday 28th June when representatives of the Bentham Line (the Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership), the rail industry, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council, and staff and Year 5 pupils from St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, Heysham, met together with Alice Rice, Terminal Manager for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, and the Mayor of Lancaster City Peel Ports, Cllr Roger Dennison.

A large, striking and colourful artwork, located in the recently refurbished passenger lounge at the ferry terminal, was unveiled by the Mayor and Ms Rice showing the new ferry ‘Manxman, Setting Sail’ following the arrival of the connecting rail service.

The Mayor made reference to the new ‘Manxman’ and the proposed Eden Project at Morecambe and hoped both would bring many additional visitors to the area. He added Morecambe Bay, the biggest bay in Britain, is a fantastic scenic backdrop to all that would be available. He felt sure these developments would help to bring prosperity to the area with the link to the Isle of Man playing an important part.

Alice Rice offered sincere thanks to all involved in creating the amazing artworks on behalf of the IoMSPCo. and reflected on the important event captured. 

Gerald Townson, Chairman of the Bentham Line, noted that there had been over a hundred years of interaction between the railway and the IoMSPCo. and that the ship and train services provided a great example of integrated public transport, which had led to the development of the ‘Rail to Sail’ project.  Heysham Port is one of a relatively few places left in Britain where it is just a short walk between train and boat.

Two further large pieces of ‘Rail to Sail’ artwork in which the school was involved were unveiled by the children, with Mayoral and other guest’s assistance, on the station concourse.

During the project the pupils were supported by local artist, Alastair Nicholson, who has worked successfully with the Bentham Line on such projects for a number of years. After each of the three unveilings the pupils examined the artworks carefully to find each of the elements they had personally created for the panels, be it excited passengers, local landmarks or some of the more unusual items.

Hannah Owens, one of class teachers at St Peter’s said; 

“The project was a lovely experience, great fun and the children learnt so much. The children were very motivated in all the tasks.”

Framed copies of the main artwork showing the new ferry, Manxman, were presented to the Mayor,  Alice Rice, Hannah Owens, Alastair Nicholson, and Brian Haworth of the Bentham Line who had led the project. Certificates were awarded to the pupils from St Peters Church of  England Primary School acknowledging their involvement in the project.

The ‘Rail to Sail’ artworks now wait to greet the many users of the station and terminal building, as well as the actual vessel, which has now crossed ten time zones from the builder’s shipyard in South Korea to arrive in Douglas last week. ‘Manxman’ will commence operations on the popular Heysham – Douglas, Isle of Man route towards the end of this month.

Images show:

• The artwork in the Passenger Lounge.

• The guests and some of the children just before art work uncovered.

• The artwork at the end of the railway platform.