New hotel built alongside rail line in Norwich is only for tiny, six-legged commuters

Published on: Tuesday, 6 October 2020
Last updated: Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Greater Anglia’s Environment and Energy Manager, Stephanie Evans, cuts the ribbon on the insect hotel

Rail contractors unveiled their latest construction project in Norwich last week – the city’s tiniest hotel, for a very specific type of customer.

Taylor Woodrow worked with Greater Anglia’s Crown Point Depot to construct a bug hotel as the train operator works toward increasing biodiversity on its network.

Following a huge redevelopment project at the depot to make more room for Greater Anglia’s fleet of brand-new trains, contractors and rail staff decided to put some of the leftover materials to good use and create a refuge for bugs and insects.

They then held an official opening ceremony, cutting a ribbon to welcome the first diminutive visitors.

Greater Anglia’s Environment and Energy Manager, Stephanie Evans, said, “We are really pleased to have an insect hotel at the depot. As we move towards autumn, it will provide a valuable refuge for various insects providing them with a habitat to nest but also to hibernate over-winter. We are looking forward to it helping enhance biodiversity and hope that it will encourage pollinating insects such as bees to flourish.”

Robin Gibson, Head of HSEQ for Taylor Woodrow said: “The construction of this insect hotel by our Norwich Crown Point Depot team shows that no matter what the project or location, there is always opportunity to support our environmental ambitions and enhance the local natural environment. This simple idea is a legacy that will continue to benefit the depot long after the improvement works have been completed.”

Greater Anglia is investing over £40 million redeveloping the Depot to create better facilities to house and maintain its 58 new Stadler trains, as well as a new carriage washing machine, improved servicing equipment and the ability to store and dispense more fuel.

Special high walkways have also been installed to give engineers access for maintenance and repairs - as most of the new trains’ components are on the roof – due to their lowered floors which make them more accessible to passengers.

A new ‘bogie drop pit’ is being installed to enable engineers to carry out bogie – the trains’ wheels - and underframe equipment removal, and new equipment transfer cranes and support offices have also been added.

In addition, the depot has gained new upgraded toilet maintenance facilities, as all the new trains have large tanks to collect waste from the Controlled Emission Toilets, rather than emptying it onto the tracks.

Across Greater Anglia’s network the operator is working with its station adoption volunteers to make rail stations more wildlife friendly – with the railway increasingly being recognized by ecologists as a ‘green corridor’ which provides a sanctuary for many kinds of flora and fauna.

Many station adopters have planted gardens which provide habitats for local wildlife as well as making the stations more welcoming. In total over 5700 square metres of gardens will be tended to this year – the equivalent of 29 tennis courts.

In a recent survey, the station adopters reported a wide range of creatures visiting their stations including many different types of butterflies as well as bees, slow worms, bats, foxes, hedgehogs, deer and many varieties of birds.