STRAINS of Happy Birthday To You could echo across the platform at Slaithwaite Station next month.

If the Friends of Slaithwaite Station (FOSLS) have their way a tannoy announcement will herald the arrival of the station’s 30th anniversary.

The original station was shut down in 1968 as the country’s rail network was slashed under the Beeching Axe, but, after public pressure, Metro, West Yorkshire’s Passenger Transport Executive, opened a new station on the same site on December 13 1982, with the then Colne Valley Liberal MP Richard Wainwright performing the honours.

With the landmark 30th birthday on the horizon, the Friends want to mark the occasion.

One of the anniversary organisers, Victoria Minton, said it was full steam ahead to the anniversary, which would be celebrated on Saturday December 15.

The Friends have asked the rail company if it would be possible to announce the anniversary over the tannoy a few days in advance – and then sing Happy Birthday on the day. It is also hoped the church bells will chime 30 times.

Slaithwaite Station, at the heart of the Stalybridge-Batley Trans-Pennine Ale Trail, has had some bad publicity in recent months. Drunken yobs hijacked the ale trail to go binge-drinking at station pubs along the route. That led to complaints of rowdy behaviour, littering and urinating in the street.

Now the Friends want to re-claim the station from the louts and celebrate all that’s good about Slaithwaite.

"It’s a very pretty station," said Mrs Minton, a founder and former chairman of the group. "The station gives us access to work, cultural activities and sport and literally connects us to the world."

The Friends hope to put on an exhibition dedicated to Slaithwaite Station past and present and would love to hear from local people who have memories or memorabilia.

This old photograph from the Examiner’s archives was published as part of a feature on Slaithwaite in May 1953. The report identifies a smiling Eric Ball as stationmaster at Slaithwaite.

It says Mr Ball had been in the post for 18 months. He ensured the smooth-running of the station which saw at least 150 trains pass through every day.

Anyone who can help should email Mrs Minton at: