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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Summer staycation rail routes cleared from litter blight

North West rail workers are busy cleaning up key tourist routes in the Lake District and Blackpool ahead of the summer holidays.

Over five nights in late May and early July while people were sleeping, rail staff collected 16 bags of rubbish from St Annes and Squires Gate in Blackpool, and 20 bags from Windermere, Staveley, Burneside and Kendal on the Windermere branch line.

Network Rail and the Department of Transport are committed to make the railways more welcoming for when passengers return in large numbers to the North West’s world class visitor destinations.

Millions of pounds is spent every year removing litter, graffiti and fly tipping – money that could be better spent improving the railway for passengers.

Clean, litter-free environments make people feel safer, which is particularly important as the rail industry welcomes passengers back to rail.

Windermere litter.

Nigel McCann, North West railway planner for Network Rail said: “Litter is a big problem for the railway. It’s regularly reported to us by community rail groups, residents and politicians.

“Recognising passengers enjoy the convenience and views when travelling by rail to Blackpool or the Lakes for their holidays, we’ve used a hit squad to litter pick these key routes overnight, so we don’t disrupt vital services in the day.

“But our message to fly tippers is: the railway is not a dumping ground for litter and costs taxpayers’ money to remove.”

Gill Haigh, managing director of Cumbria Tourism, said: “As restrictions continue to ease, we know more people will be returning to rail travel in the coming weeks, as an accessible, eco-friendly way to get around. Those all-important first glances at the stupendous Lake District views outside the train window set the scene for the holiday to come, so this large-scale litter pick is a credit to the hardworking rail workers who have been busy tidying up these key routes – enabling rail passengers to appreciate our world-class landscape at its very best.”

Cllr Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “We really do appreciate the efforts made by rail staff. Litter collection is vitally important in a seaside destination and particularly at key arrival points such as car parks and railway stations.

“We hope that visitors will see the difference that has been made and will play their part by disposing of their own litter in a responsible way.”

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, said: “As we build back better, we are committed to making our stations and services pleasant, comfortable and safe for passengers ensuring it’s ready for the return of passengers as people venture to UK holiday destinations.”

The litter blitz was part of Network Rail’s efforts to support Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean 2021.

It’s not just tourist routes being targeted. All routes across the North West have regular litter sweeps to keep embankments clean and tidy, and the track free from obstacles to trains.

For safety reasons, rubbish removal takes place overnight.

This is to not disrupt passenger and freight services that support the UK economy by transporting commuters, leisure travellers, as well as medical supplies and food.

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