Eco friendly water solution at Essex rail stations

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Rail station gardens in Essex have received a boost with the installation of permanent and eco-friendly water supplies to help keep plants in perfect condition.

The Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership and Community Rail Network, working with train operator, Greater Anglia, have funded the installation of water butts or new taps at eight rail station gardens to solve the problem of keeping them watered in one of the driest parts of the country.

The upgrades have been installed at Clacton, Cressing, Hythe, Manningtree, Rayleigh, Sudbury, Weeley and Wivenhoe stations.

At seven of the stations, rainwater is collected in the butts via the station or waiting shelter gutters, creating an environmentally friendly alternative to using a mains supply, saving water and providing an onsite supply throughout the year.

One water butt holds enough to fill up a watering can over 20 times.

Jayne Sumner, Rail Engagement Manager for the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, said, "We are very lucky in Essex to have some really beautiful station gardens, thanks to the work of station adoption volunteers - but being a dry county, keeping them watered during the summer months with no onsite supply was a problem.

"Therefore, we were only too pleased to progress this scheme and are grateful to the funding from the Community Rail Network which means we now have an effective and eco-friendly solution."

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said, "Thank you to everyone involved in this partnership project. It will help to make life a little easier for our volunteer station adopters who do an absolutely amazing job that is appreciated by everyone who lives near or uses the station."

Greater Anglia’s team of station adopters – who help to look after their rail stations for the benefit of their communities – increased the total area of station garden across the network by 14% last year and devoted much of it to creating wildlife friendly areas.

Across the network the volunteers have transformed land the equivalent of five Olympic-sized swimming pools into thriving gardens.