Network Rail to offer free drinking water across stations starting with London's Charing Cross as part of plastic waste crackdown

Rebecca Smith
Network Rail hopes to make a splash with the new facilities
Network Rail hopes to make a splash with the new facilities (Source: Network Rail)

Network Rail said today it is kicking off the introduction of free drinking water facilities at its stations starting with London's Charing Cross.

The scheme will begin with the trial installation of a new water fountain at Charing Cross by the end of March, and that will then inform a full rollout of free drinking water facilities across all Network Rail's managed stations later in the year.

Water fountains will be installed "where it is practical and feasible to do so", Network Rail said. The free drinking water trial is aimed at encouraging station users to refill their own water bottles and forms part of a wider Network Rail plan to slash the impact of plastic waste at its stations.

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David Biggs, Network Rail's managing director of property said: “By introducing free water fountains at our managed stations we can make a simple change that not only helps quench the thirst of station users, but also has a positive impact on our sustainability ambitions by reducing single-use plastics.

“We’re looking forward to the introduction of these water fountains and the benefits they will bring the public and the environment.”

Network Rail's managed stations

National stations London stations
Birmingham New Street
Bristol Temple Meads
Edinburgh Waverley
Glasgow Central
Liverpool Lime Street
Manchester Piccadilly

Cannon Street
Charing Cross
King's Cross
London Bridge
Liverpool Street
St Pancras International (lower level)

Network Rail said it is also looking at ways it can work with its station food and drink retail tenants to reduce plastic waste too, as one of the country's largest retail landlords.

Late last year, Network Rail, which controls 2,500 stations, announced it was kicking off the sale of its commercial property portfolio, having deemed the business a non-core property asset, not necessary for the running of the railway.

The aim is to provide "a significant injection of cash" into Network Rail, with most properties being sold as leasehold across England and Wales.

Network Rail will retain the freeholds to ensure access rights will be unaffected.

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