RAIL users in Ludlow are thinking of a man who did a lot to improve facilities at the railway station in the town.

Francis Dunne, who has died, was responsible for the development of the present facilities and services at Ludlow Railway Station.

“When I arrived in Ludlow in 1980 the train services were infrequent and there were no facilities at the platform only station,” said Roger Furniss, a member of Ludlow Rail users.

“Tickets could sometimes be bought at a Travel Agents in the town but information about services and prices was hard to find.

“In 1991 Francis established a franchise operation based inside a temporary cabin alongside the track. He offered a personal service providing invaluable advice. As a result, station usage increased and with the help of the local Rail Users Association, services more than doubled. Staff were employed to help his operation and eventually Arriva trains replaced his cabin with their own permanent building.

“When as a result of ill health Francis passed on the franchise and departed Ludlow about 10 years ago he left behind a thriving business offering locals from a wide area an unparalleled service, which continues to be widely respected in the town. I briefly worked as a volunteer for a few years to help him in the tin cabin.

“Later and remarkably I purchased through him train tickets to take me from Chicago to Memphis and from Sydney to Brisbane and Dubbo during the Sydney Olympics. For many others, and before the days of widespread internet booking, he organized European itineraries and bookings in the early days of Eurostar.

“Few in Ludlow today are aware of his contribution.”