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Bury St Edmunds railway station's café is going to close

The manager of Bury St Edmunds railway station’s cafe said he will miss ‘helping passengers’ when the amenity shuts.

Off The Rails, on platform 2 - where trains depart for Ipswich, opened in November 2011 and is the only place to buy a coffee, tea, or a snack at the station.

But it is set to close on Friday (August 30) because of a ‘lack of trade’ and ‘high business rates’.

Off The Rails cafe at Bury St Edmunds railway station (15844579)
Off The Rails cafe at Bury St Edmunds railway station (15844579)

The manager, who did not wish to be named, is the only staff member and has cut his hours to 6am to 2pm on weekdays because of a lack of demand.

He said: “It is very sad it is closing. I did not know anybody before I moved here but I have come to know so many customers.

“But I can’t afford to stay open. Rents are so high and footfall has been very slack.”

In the years since opening, the railway station has seen an increase in passengers but fewer have come into the cafe this year. As a result, the manager has made cutbacks, including stopping the service of hot breakfasts.

He continued: “I have no idea why it has been less popular this year when more passengers are using the station. It is a case of use it or lose it unfortunately.

“I have been the face here for eight years. I’m known as more than the person who runs the cafe. I will help people onto trains and help make the passenger experience as pleasant as possible.”

Bury resident John Forbes commutes to London and is a regular at Off The Rails.

He said: “I think it’s sad that someone who has made the effort to get a business going has failed to make it work.

“The footfall has slumped and people are not using it. It is the only facility and uses real coffee, but if people are not going to use it then it will go. It’s very sad.”

A spokesman for Greater Anglia said: “A tenant at Bury St Edmunds rail station handed in their notice.

“From the start of October, we will have a retail unit available and any prospective tenants should get in touch with us via our website.

“We are investing in Bury St Edmunds station.The number of car parking spaces is set to triple and the old station master’s house will be refurbished, thanks to a £192,000 grant from the Railway Heritage Trust.

“The money will be used to reinstate the roof, doors and windows of the Grade II listed building, which is adjacent to the main rail station.”

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