Thursday 8 Nov 2018
Pigeon patrol takes to the ‘skies’ of Britain’s busiest railway station
Staff at Britain’s busiest railway station – Waterloo - welcomed a feathery new recruit to their ranks this week in the shape of Aria the Harris hawk.
The five-year-old bird of prey will be on duty with her handler Max Bell twice a week for her two-hour shifts to scare away unwelcome guests from the iconic station’s Victorian rafters.
She will also be patrolling the skies above sandwich bars and coffee shops on the station concourse, to help keep the areas clear of pigeons.
Jason Murphy, Waterloo area manager for Network Rail, said:
“Pigeons can be a real nuisance for people using the station. They also cause a lot of mess which needs cleaning up at some expense.
“So Aria’s work is really important in making the station a better place for our passengers, while saving us money on our cleaning bills.
“She’s a very hard worker and we’re delighted to have her as part of the station team here at Waterloo.”
Max Bell, Aria’s handler, said:
“Aria really enjoys the environment at Waterloo and is delighted to be here. She does a great job and often likes to reward herself with a relaxing bath in the puddles that gather on the rain shelters over the platforms.”
Though her species hail from the Americas, Aria was raised in St Albans, and has worked across the River Thames at King’s Cross station and the Treasury during her high-flying career.
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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.