‘Talking’ benches will welcome back passengers at more Essex rail stations

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Above: The new 'talking bench' at Marks Tey rail station Credit: Essex & South Suffolk CRP

A project to install ‘talking benches’ at rail stations in Essex will offer people information about the local area as they wait for trains.

More of the innovative benches have recently been installed at Hockley, Marks Tey and Wrabness in addition to the ones already in situ at Alresford, Braintree and Manningtree.

The talking benches feature a button which, when pressed, tells the story of the area and will provide interest to those waiting for trains - but is also aimed at tackling social isolation and loneliness by helping to provide a place for people to connect and chat.

The additional benches have been funded by the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership and Community Rail Network who have worked with Greater Anglia’s Asset Management Team who carried out the installations.

Jayne Summer, Rail Engagement Manager at the Community Rail Partnership said, “We hope these new benches get people talking and bring people together. The benches not only provide useful information but are also intended to help tackle loneliness by providing somewhere to sit and chat.”

Greater Anglia’s Community and Customer Engagement Manager, Alan Neville, said, “This is a wonderful project which will play its part in attracting people back to rail by providing useful information on days out by train and what there is to see and do locally, helping to boost tourism as part of the green recovery."

Above: The new 'talking bench' at in the station garden at Hockley. Credit: Essex & South Suffolk CRP