A quick clean up act for railways

A little bit about my story: The target publication with this article would probably be a newspaper like ‘The London Lite’ as this is mainly for readers that commute by train and underground and therefore would targeting them as commuters, but also in magazines for train fans, as well as local residents where litter and graffiti is an issue.

The principle sources used for this story were those of 2 websites that included press releases that included the information and some quotes. These were Council websites and Government websites. I also used phone call to contact someone who also works for Network Rail but wanted to be ‘nameless.’

The inspiration for this article was merely both the press release, and as a regular commuter myself I see many of the issues raised like litter and graffiti on my travel and think it’s a real issue that needs to be dealt with, so there was a background of personal views on this story, but I held back on the personal opinions.

The work involved in checking my facts, was that of my ‘anonymous’ contact as they were able to tell me whether the press release was accurate or not.

A PIONEERING agreement, known as the Memorandum of Understanding, as been struck between Network Rail and London Councils to ensure quicker removal of litter and graffiti from its central stations and railway lines.

The Memorandum of Understanding has led to the agreement between both organisations that there will be a better coordination of the cleaning schedule in and around the railway lines, as well as working together to educate people about the dangers and the penalties of such behaviours such as littering and graffiti art.

Both organisations have come together to make sure the process of removal is quicker and more efficient, however some local residents around the railway lines are often unaware of whose duty it is to clean away the litter and graffiti. The local councils are most in line to receive the complaints from the members of the public about the unsightly rubbish, even when it is not on council land.

Some members of community feel that the litter is a problem which is not being sorted due to the time it can take for a few private land owners to be encouraged to clear their rubbish, leaving some locals presuming their concerns are being taken seriously. However, Chairman of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, Cllr Mike Fisher said: “Boroughs are well aware that this sort of mindless action by some people is a huge concern for the majority of our local communities. However, it is something we cannot tackle alone and I am delighted that we have been able to strike this agreement with Network Rail.”

With regard to the railway, it does pose Network Rail with some difficulties on how best to tackle the problem, because for litter or graffiti to be removed, a ‘safe window’ must first be initiated which may make the clearing process take longer  because trains have to be stopped so that the clearing of rubbish can be can be done safely by railway workers. A Network Rail worker, who declined to be named, with 33 years experience, explains that the ‘work’ is usually arranged to coincide with other engineering works going on at the time, such as track renewals and these are planned many months in advance.

“A complaint may go to the railway but the window of opportunity to get the job done may be planned for 6 months in the future as that coincides with the planned work.”

The anonymous worker acknowledges the graffiti art as an ongoing problem: “It costs Network Rail many thousand pounds a year to clear it up.

“As soon as the area is cleaned it can be seen as a “clean canvas” for the “artists” to daub all over again.”

Derek Crook, Network Rail’s head of community relations, said: “We are committed to combating the scourge of graffiti and litter and this partnership approach across London will help us tackle this problem head-on.”



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