Network Rail reaping the benefit of green initiatives on the East Coast Main Line: Network Rail reaping the benefit of green initiatives on the East Coast Main Line

Thursday 8 Nov 2018

Network Rail reaping the benefit of green initiatives on the East Coast Main Line

Region & Route:
London North Eastern & East Midlands

Network Rail is seeing tangible benefits from a range of eco-friendly initiatives it has introduced on the East Coast Main Line.

During the refurbishment of King’s Cross station, which took place between 2006 and 2012, Network Rail introduced a range of measures to make the station more sustainable including rainwater harvesting, water saving taps, extra insulation and 2,300 square metres of solar panels.

The solar panels were specially designed to integrate with the iconic design of the Grade I listed building and have reduced carbon dioxide emissions at the railway station by over 40 tonnes. The panels have generated one million kilowatts of electricity, enough to power 38 homes for a full year, saving Network Rail £125,000 in utility costs.

Together the green initiatives helped Network Rail achieve a BREAAM excellent rating- the second highest rating given by the Building Research Establishment’s method of assessing, rating, and certifying the sustainability of buildings.

Elsewhere on the route, the organisation is also increasing biodiversity and saving money by reusing waste materials to create dedicated insect habitats, known colloquially as bug hotels. The hotels combine leftover items including wooden pallets, cable ducting and terracotta pots with natural materials such as pine cones, twigs and logs to create an environment that mimics natural habitats, where creatures such as ladybirds, bees, earwigs, woodlice and lacewings can shelter and rest. The structure also has a section underneath which can be used as refuge by bigger creatures such as hedgehogs, toads and frogs.

The first such habitat has been created at Bawtry by the Rail Electrification Alliance (REAL) who aim to replicate them at all of their compounds. REAL is delivering an enhanced power supply on the East Coast Mainline to support the Thameslink and Intercity Express Programmes and the introduction of new faster, quieter and cleaner trains on the route.

As a company Network Rail already diverts 94% of its waste away from landfill. The organisation has also pledged to ban retailers from supplying plastic cutlery and cups in managed stations by the end of 2020; implement a coffee cup recycling scheme for managed stations by the end of 2020; and expand the roll out of coffee ground recycling to all managed stations by the end of 2020.

These goals also complement the organisation’s recent initiative to begin installing free water fountains in its managed stations, making it as easy as possible for the 900m users that pass through its managed station to refill their bottles on the go and reducing the use of 1000 plastic drinking bottles per week.

Rob McIntosh, Network Rail Route Managing Director, said: “Network Rail is committed to being as efficient and sustainable as possible. “Whether it’s reducing our bills through the use of renewable energy or by cutting down on the amount of waste we generate, we are doing what we can to be more sustainable. We now want to encourage our retail tenants, contractors and station users to do their bit to cut down on waste, increase recycling and be more environmentally friendly.”


Notes to Editors

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), first published by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in 1990, is the world's longest established method of assessing, rating, and certifying the sustainability of buildings.

The Rail Electrification Alliance comprises Network Rail, Siemens, J Murphy and Sons, VolkerRail, TSP Projects Limited and Jacobs and was set up in 2014 to deliver the Network Rail’s East Coast Main Line Power Supply Upgrade Project

The Alliance’s Director Jason Hamilton said “These ‘hotels’ not only provide shelter and sanctuary to wildlife on the railway corridor, but also demonstrate the project’s commitment to biodiversity and sustainability, reusing our waste materials from site and reducing disposal costs. This is a win-win for business and the environment.”

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Joanne Parker

About Network Rail

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.

Every day, there are more than 4.8 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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