The new-look Skegness Railway Station officially opened with a fanfare following a three-and-half-year development scheme.
The completion of the £720,00 project was marked with performance and music on Saturday.
To celebrate the occasion the station hosted the launch of SO Festival Fringe. Passengers were greeted with characters dressed as Barrow Boy station porters and numbers from Skegness Silver Band,
Rebuilding work began in January 2011 with the demolition of the Station Master’s Office. The centrepiece of the re-designed station is a seaside theme plaza featuring a new Jolly Fisherman statue, dunes sculpture and glass windbreak.
Completion was delayed after the sculpture was boarded up for around 20 months and embellished with saftety studs following an accident involving a cyclist. The Jolly Fisherman, with his trademark bucket, spade and suitcase, is a recast of the original statue from 1989 by artist Sioban Coppinger and returned to position last November.
The appearance of the station has been brightened with hanging baskets and floral planters provided by The Poacher Line Community Rail Partnership, looked after by the team of volunteer station adopters.
Netting has also been donated by the rail partnership to prevent pigeons getting into the station.
Finance for the development came from the European Regional Development Fund, Network Rail’s National Stations Improvement Programme, East Midlands Trains and Lincolnshire County Council.
Skegness Mayor George Saxon and Coun Colin Davie, executive member for economic development at Lincolnshire County Council, formally opened the station with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Coun Davie said: “The event on Saturday was a real success and it was great to be able to combine it with the SO Fringe Festival and a cracking performance by the Skegness Silver Band.
“I think everyone is proud of the changes that have been made to the station. This has been money well spent. The function we had at the weekend just showed what an improvement has been made – you wouldn’t have dreamt of holding an event like that at the ‘old’ station.
“The work has seen the new plaza built, a number of derelict old buildings demolished, and we’ve finally got rid of the pigeons! The station is the gateway to our town and now visitors are greeted by a fresh, modern and inviting place every time they arrive in Skegness.
“I’d like to thank all of those people involved in delivering the project – you’ve done a great job.”