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Amberol’s work with train stations highlighted in Rail Professional magazine

Amberol’s work with train stations highlighted in Rail Professional magazine

At Amberol we are probably best known for our work with councils and Britain in Bloom groups, many of whom have been customers for several decades.

However, our litter bins and self-watering planters are popular with a range of organisations, from theme parks to ferry boats to train stations. In fact, rail companies and bodies such as station adopters are increasingly coming to us to help them improve the appearance of their station platforms, ticket offices and open spaces through the use of self-watering planters.

So, we were delighted that an article by our managing director Patience Atkinson-Gregory was published in the September edition of respected industry magazine, Rail Professional. The magazine was also distributed at the recent Railtex exhibition.

Creating a welcoming environment

The article explains how self-watering planters can help brighten up train stations relatively easily and cheaply. After fears around Covid and changes in travelling habits, rail networks are working hard to tempt people back to travelling by train – and as Patience points out, creating a clean, attractive environment is an important art of encouraging people back to rail travel.

“One of the simplest and most cost effective ways of transforming a station is by planting up floral displays,” Patience comments. “Some stations already have flower beds, but for those which don’t, planters are usually a good option, offering portability and ease of maintenance. There are also a variety of ways of funding the purchase of planters, plants and other equipment. For example, many station adoption groups successfully seek sponsorship for flowering containers from local businesses.”

Resolving the water issue

However, there are challenges in growing plants at stations, particularly in terms of access to water. “Some stations, particularly smaller rural stations, don’t have easy access to water while running hoses across station platforms is a significant trip hazard,” Patience explains. “One solution that some station adopters and Britain in Bloom groups use is installing Amberol’s self-watering planters. Our containers have a built-in water reservoir and so usually need watering just once or twice a week at most, making maintenance easier and safer.”

The East Midlands Railway (EMR) team encourages station adoption groups to use self-watering planters while the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) award assessors also support the use of self-watering planters from a conservation and convenience point of view.

Giving thanks to the community

The article also pays tribute to organisations such as the Community Rail Network which works to promote a range of important issues such as sustainable travel, disabled access and community involvement. It also runs an influential station adoption scheme for volunteers which has helped to transform hundreds of stations across the UK.

Patience comments: “I would like to thank our customers Friends of Beeston Station in Nottinghamshire and Attenborough Elderflowers who shared details of their work with us, which I hope provided valuable inspiration for people reading the article. Our railway stations are an important part of our local economies, and often our heritage, as well as our modern transport networks, and so their preservation, maintenance and improvement is crucial.”

To read the Rail Professional article in full, click here (pages 52-53).

For more information about Amberol’s self-watering planters, benches and litter bins (including speaking ones), email or call 01773 830 930.