Shopping trolleys, old tyres and crisp packets dating back to the 1980s was just some of the rubbish that Network Rail collected during a major clean-up near the railway in Hartlepool.
The land between the tracks and Lancaster Road, around half a mile north of Hartlepool station, is a hotspot for litter and fly-tipping.
As COVID restrictions ease and more passengers return to the railway, cleanliness is more important than ever before. Network Rail is determined to tackle litter and fly-tipping on and near the railway, which is unpleasant for passengers and people in the community.
Thomas Brand maintains the area around the railway, looks after the infrastructure and responds to any issues, whilst making sure train services can run safely and reliably.
His team decided to clean-up the area, but the volume of rubbish people had dumped over the years was too much to simply litter-pick.
After moving some of the litter hidden in trees, under tree debris and behind fencing – as well as a few traffic cones, concrete blocks and drainage pipes – they had to step in with machinery to get over ten tonnes of rubbish into skips.
Dumping rubbish near the railway can be dangerous or cause major disruption to train services if it blows onto the tracks or the overhead lines. Clearing it also costs millions of pounds every year, which could have been invested in improving the railway for passengers.
Thomas Brand, Infrastructure Maintenance Protection Coordinator for Network Rail, said: “Fly-tipping and littering are ongoing national problems and I’m proud of our teams in Hartlepool for tidying up the area.
“The railway is not a dumping ground and illegally leaving your rubbish. It makes the area an eyesore for passengers and people in the area.
“We really need people to do their bit and help us keep areas around the railway tidy so passengers can travel with confidence.”
Fly-tipping on the railway is illegal and carries a fine of up to £50,000. If you see someone fly-tipping near the railway, please report it to the British Transport Police by calling 0800 40 50 40 or texting 61016. You can also call Network Rail’s 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41.
Photo credit: Network Rail