Communities across the south west are to benefit from a tidier, cleaner-looking railway following a spring clean of graffiti-affected railway sites in Devon, Bristol, Berkshire and west London. Earlier this year, Network Rail workers targeted 15 heavily affected areas across the south west, to remove graffiti and improve the overall look and feel of the railway. The hotspots that have been cleaned up include the long stretch of railway between Slough and London Paddington station, the blue bridge that crosses the M4 motorway to the north of Bristol and the River Teign bridge in Devon.
Railway workers worked tirelessly to transform the areas using a combination of techniques which involved pressure washing, scrubbing using wire brushes and applying anti-graffiti paint wherever possible, to ensure the sites can be easily maintained in the future.
The huge clean-up operation is part of the ‘Graffiti Sprint’ initiative which aims to improve the overall look and feel of the railway by making it a more pleasant environment for passengers and residents living alongside it. It also supports Secretary of State Grant Shapps’ commitment to improve areas on or near the railway that are affected by graffiti and vandalism in a bid to encourage people to travel by train.
Network Rail spends around £3.5m every year trying to tackle the ‘blight’ of graffiti on the railway and continues to work closely with Department for Transport to target the most heavily affected areas across the rail network.
Chris Pearce, Network Rail, interim Western route director, said: “I am delighted to see the progress that has been made over the past few months to clean up graffiti from the railway and surrounding infrastructure at numerous sites across the south west. Graffiti makes the railway look untidy for passengers and residents living alongside it. Our end goal is to make sure everybody using the railway feels safe and comfortable which is why it is important that the railway is a clean, welcoming environment.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, said: “Graffiti on our railways is an unsightly crime which puts passengers off using the network by creating an aura of neglect and decay. That is why it’s good to see Network Rail dealing with this eyesore in order to attract people back to feeling comfortable on our railway. As we build back better, removing graffiti across the network will help clean up our railway and make stations and services more pleasant for passengers.”