Pictures: Network Rail carries out £2m spring clean to remove graffiti eyesores on Britain’s railway: Wigan graffiti removal

Monday 11 Apr 2022

Pictures: Network Rail carries out £2m spring clean to remove graffiti eyesores on Britain’s railway

Region & Route:

Network Rail teams across the country have been working to freshen up Britain's railway in the Queen's Platinum Jubilee year with more than £2m of funding being used to target the removal of unsightly graffiti which blights infrastructure.

The additional funding has been distributed to each of Network Rail's routes to help remove eyesores from railway infrastructure in hotspot areas. 

Network Rail chief executive, Andrew Haines said:

“We have a wonderful and historic railway in Britain with engineering marvels spanning back to Victorian times, but all too often it is blighted by unsightly graffiti and vandalism which is an eyesore for our passengers and railway neighbours. 

“Our teams have been working extremely hard to remove graffiti and to make the railway more inviting. This is no easy task and cannot be done overnight but I know that this investment will make a real difference to communities and our passengers across the country”

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said:

“A railway journey offers the chance to take some time out, sit back and enjoy the view. So, it's a shame to have it spoilt by unsightly graffiti.

“I’ve asked Network Rail to tackle this problem and they are working hard to remove these eyesores, making our railways and surrounding areas more appealing and welcoming for all.”

Network Rail’s regional teams identified problem areas and used this funding to dispatch teams to remove and paint over stubborn spray-painted tags, also applying anti-graffiti paint where possible to deter people from targeting the same areas in future.

More than 450 sites have been cleared of graffiti in the south east along with high-profile sites such as the Hungerford Bridge and the Bermondsey dive-under in London. Heavily graffiti-tagged infrastructure across Bristol and Keynsham are among the dozens of areas which have been targeted in the south west. 

Bristol graffiti removal

A bridge in the Totterdown area of Bristol has been refreshed

Before, during and after shots from work to remove graffiti from the Bermondsey Dive Under

Fresh paint covers eyesores at the Bermondsey dive-under in South East London

In the West Midlands, a graffiti hit squad has been working for nearly a year to improve the railway in preparation for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Thousands of tags have been removed across the region, most recently from routes in and out of Birmingham New Street station, in the Stechford and Sutton Park areas, and from railway-owned walls and buildings in Birmingham city centre.  

Birmingham graffiti removal

One of the many sites where graffiti has been removed in Birmingham as the city prepares to welcome visitors for this summer's Commonwealth Games

Before and after of graffiti removal in Melton Mowbray

Work has been completed to freshen up a footbridge in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire

In the East Midlands, residents of Melton Mowbray are enjoying a more pleasant route over the railway following the removal of graffiti on a footbridge and unsightly tags have also been removed by Network Rail’s graffiti hit-squads across Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds; notably at Burley Park station and through Ashton Road Tunnel in Wigan.

Graffiti removal work at Burley Park station in Leeds

Spray paint on lineside buildings being removed in Leeds

Wigan graffiti removal

Graffiti removal work in Wigan, Greater Manchester

Graffiti is an expensive and dangerous problem for the railway. Not only are the costs in removing it significant, but those trespassing on the railway risk tragic consequences or life-changing injuries.

To report people vandalising the railway or acting suspiciously, contact the British Transport Police via text on 61016 or by phoning 0800 40 50 40.


Contact information

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Network Rail press office - James Crook
Senior Media Relations Manager
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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