Students and staff from Derwen College, showcased their talents during celebrations today marking 175 years since the opening of the Gobowen (Shrewsbury to Chester) railway line in 1848.

The further education college for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) teamed up with Severn Dee Travel and Gobowen Station Building Trust to mark the significant anniversary. The were joined by North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan and representatives from all the partners involved.

However, it was Derwen College students who really shone. Performing Arts students sign, song and dance group DOT (Derwen on Tour) performed ‘Reach for the Stars’. Hospitality and Food students served drinks and canapes to visitors outside the college-run Station Cafe, while the Retail team manned a brand new pop-up shop on the station. The shop was a mini showcase of the customer Marketplace which can be found at Derwen College – which includes a popular charity shop and garden centre and gift shop. Students Justin Harley and Byron Davies took a break from their usual work placement at The Vintage Advantage charity shop to help customers in the pop-up shop.

The college was kindly given permission from Gobowen Station Buildings Trust to use the buildings for this exciting exhibition.

Derwen College has been running the café at Gobowen Station for 10 years, thanks to independent rail agency Severn Dee Travel – who run the ticket office. Students work in the café as part of their work experience, supporting them to secure jobs after College.

Derwen College made a birthday cake in honour of the landmark day, which was also attended by Derwen College Principal and CEO Meryl Green and the college leadership team.

Meryl said: “Thank you to our partners at Severn Dee Travel and Gobowen Station Buildings Trust for including Derwen College in this wonderful celebration of our local railway line. We have been running the Station Café with Severn Dee Travel for 10 years now and are proud to be part of the community there. It was lovely to see so many people enjoying the event, and to have the opportunity to showcase all that we do at college.

“As always, our students were the stars of the show, whether they were performing, serving canapes or drinks, or demonstrating customer service skills in the pop-up shop.”

“Thank you to MP Helen Morgan and all the visitors who came to support us.”

Sheila Dee, director at Severn Dee Travel, said:

“The line has a great history – some 175 years’ worth! It’s good to take time out to reflect on the milestones and achievements that have taken place.  Severn Dee Travel was set up in 1995 as a not for profit rail agency and the booking office and waiting room opened on what was an unstaffed station.  We’ve always had a community ethos and the partnership with the Derwen College and the opening of the work experience cafe has brought benefits to both students and the community. To see such success is very rewarding for all the volunteers and staff that are involved in the business.”

Find out more about Derwen College and Derwen Marketplace at