The donated piano at Thornton Heath station become a much loved feature with impromptu performances entertaining passengers. But last month Network Rail contractors decided to rip off the roof on the station without covering the piano and when it rained it was soaked, destroying the keys so they no longer worked.
The Chronicle understands that the piano will be replaced very soon after protests from passengers, and The Chronicle.
One passenger was so fed up they put this note on the piano chastising the rail company while other angry residents called for a petition demanding the rail company repair or replace the piano.
In April 2016, Thornton Heath Community Action Team working with Southern Railway/Govia Thameslink Railway paid for the piano which was donated by one of its members Harriet Thomas to be transported to the station. It has been an instant hit with young and old of all musical abilities.
Above the piano sits a framed message explaining the sentiment behind the decision to locate the piano in the station: “We aim to enhance your travelling experience and make the station a more creative and comfortable place. The piano invites players to entertain you and your fellow travellers.”
Passengers took to social media to vent their anger over the way the donated piano had been treated.
Guy Burchett said: “Seeing that lovely bright piano is the best welcome to Thornton Heath when you arrive by train. What a shame! And what an unnecessary thing to happen. “
The piano has subsequently been removed but is still at the station.
Resident Angela O’Connor said: “Such a shame and could have been avoided If someone working at the station or on the maintenance team just covered or moved it. I’m not a regular train user but on the 20 plus times I have passed it since installation it has been enjoyed by young and old. Canary Wharf has a piano I bet they wouldn’t get that one wet!”
The Chronicle contacted Southern to ask if the piano would be repaired or replaced and a spokesman pledged: “The station piano was a wonderful initiative and we would very much like to see what we can do to help our station partners replace it.”
THCAT committee member David Fell who complained received this response from Southern Railway: “I am very sorry to hear that there has been an issue with the piano at Thornton Heath. I can understand that this piano should take pride at Thornton Heath especially as this was kindly donated. I can of course understand your frustration in seeing that this has been damaged due to the recent issues with the roof.
“The piano has been moved to a secure area until the roof renewal is completed. They have not given us a timescale for this job however, promise to complete it as soon as possible.
“At present we are unsure as to if the piano will be repaired or replaced in terms of its current damage, although the Station Managers are fully aware of this situation. “