A GROUP of VIPs and historians have taken a step back in time to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Great Malvern train station.

Lord Richard Faulkner, members of Malvern Town Council and local historians took a walk through ‘the Worm’ yesterday – a tunnel that leads from platform two of the station to the former Imperial Hotel, now Malvern St James School.

The tunnel, which closed about 25 years ago, led first-class passengers from the train platform to the hotel to avoid the rain.

Lord Faulkner was joined by chairman of the council, Councillor Paul Tuthill, town clerk Richard Chapman, former council chairman Mike Selby, Elisabeth Rambridge, Malvern St James School archivist, Peter Clement, a member of the Malvern Civic Society, and Peter Dobbin, London Midland customer service manager Birmingham South.

Malvern Civic Society is trying to get ‘the Worm’ refurbished and reopened to the public as a part of the town’s heritage. The Railway Heritage Trust has promised to give 40 per cent of the refurbishment budget, up to £120,000, if a suitable use can be found for it.

Mr Clement said: “It is part of Malvern’s heritage and is thought to be the only one of its kind in the country.

“This makes it a unique structure, but in its current state it’s an eyesore. We just need to find a use for it.”

Lord Faulkner said: “It’s the first time many of us have seen it for many years, and I’ve never seen it. I got a wish to do it when I was on the station for the 150th celebrations.

“I hope it may be possible at one stage to find a means to restore it but that will be a big job.

“It’s been a great opportunity to see it today.”