The new facilities will provide free drinking water for people passing through national stations such as Birmingham New Street, Bristol Temple Meads, Glasgow Central and London Victoria.

A trial water fountain at London Charing Cross from March will inform a full rollout across all Network Rail’s managed stations later in the year.

Network Rail Property managing director David Biggs said: “At Network Rail we put station users at the heart of everything we do and our managed stations are carefully designed to ensure that people can enjoy a great experience – whether they’re travelling, shopping, dining or socialising. 

“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.”

Network Rail said it had been encouraged by some its station food and beverage retail tenants to reduce plastic waste.

Options could include providing free drinking water instore to complement facilities on the station concourse, or making simple changes to the materials used in cutlery or packaging.

The news comes after London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a plan to build a network of water fountains in the capital. London’s Borough Market is to introduce free drinking water fountains as part of a pledge to phase out sales of all single-use plastic bottles.

Sustainable network

This is the latest attempt by Network Rail to improve its environmental impact by reducing the amount of waste it produces. Striking a partnership with coffee waste collectors Bio-Bean enabled Network Rail to make steps in reducing waste at its stations.

The railway infrastructure manager was part of joint campaign coordinated by major coffee retailers and businesses in the London Square Mile which recycled half a million coffee cups in the capital in one month.

Meanwhile, Network Rail’s £50m Dive Under infrastructure project in South London received a CEEQUAL Excellent Whole Team Award of 96.6%, having increased biodiversity in the area by 113%.

George Ogleby

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