Meet the 13-year-old boy campaigning to revive the train station in his Northamptonshire village

'It just makes sense to connect Weedon with rail again'

Friday, 10th July 2020, 7:00 am

A 13-year-old boy is leading a campaign to revive the demolished railway station in his Northamptonshire village.

Harry Burr has been surveying residents, lobbying councillors and his MP and getting information from the Department of Transport in his quest to get Weedon Railway Station back.

The Sponne School pupil has written and published a white paper on the subject in the hope of convincing the authorities to rebuild the High Street station on the West Coast Main Line.

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Harry Burr, 13, wants to revive Weedon Bec Railway Station

"When Weedon Bec had a train station, it was one of the major villages in the county," he said.

"With many infrastructure, housing and other projects happening in the village and in the surrounding area, it just makes sense to connect Weedon with rail again."

Harry may live on a canal boat but has a strong affinity with Weedon having gone to the village's primary school after moving to the county from Kent in 2013.

One thing that struck Harry was that Northamptonshire only has six train stations compared to his old home which had around 100 with lines linking many villages and towns.

How Weedon Bec railway station used to look. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

"I started this project to change that and to connect the county, and the surrounding area around Weedon, Towcester and Daventry which are at the heart of Northamptonshire," he said.

Harry started his campaign by asking parents at the primary school about how they travel, with the overwhelming majority using a car with a few using buses and bicycles.

As his questionnaire expanded, he found most people in Daventry and Weedon use Long Buckby station when getting the train.

In his mind, a new station in Weedon Bec would reduce pollution with fewer people travelling by car and the trains would be fully electric, as well as boosting the local economy with a direct train to London and Liverpool.

How the railway looks now by Weedon with the station

When asked about those who might not want a station in the village, Harry said: "It would be on the outskirts of the village so it's quite out of the way. I don't think it would disturb any of the houses around there."

Harry said he became interested in the railways only recently, with the collapse of Virgin Trains in December sparking his intrigue in franchising and the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

Weedon station was among those closed by British Rail chairman Richard Beeching nearly 60 years ago.

"It's quite a recent thing, to be honest, and the lockdown has given me a lot of time on my hands," he said.

Harry has written to Daventry MP Chris Heaton-Harris twice for support for his campaign, with no reply so far, but he has had success with a Weedon district councillor backing him.

He also wrote to West Midlands Railway, who suggested contacting the government for more information, who in turn recommended getting in touch with Network Rail and Northamptonshire County Council.

His mother thinks he would make a great politician when he is older, having been part of Weedon Junior Parish Council for several years.

But Harry sees a future career in technology, with a desire to work for Google in London.

For now, he is focused on the railway station campaign: "With the new West Northamptonshire Council coming in April 2021, there is no better time to create a new Northamptonshire in terms of rail.

"Why not start with Weedon? When a station is built, people use it. This is not an exception here."