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Adopt a station

Adopt a station

For many people, a railway station is the first thing they see when arriving in a town, so it can leave a lasting impression. The Adopt a Station programme was launched in 2005 to enhance the important role that our stations play in local communities and to improve the station environment for customers and staff.

To date, 200 of our 347 stations across Scotland have been adopted by gardeners, who range from local business people, schools and colleges, to community councils, gardening clubs and individuals. Our customers can not only admire flowers and occasionally fruit, but are also invited in some places to pick their own herbs and vegetables. The Adopt a Station programme embraces community uses for railway stations such as meeting rooms, heritage centres and model railway clubs, as well as artwork including posters.

Types of Adopter

We have a range of adopters from different locations that help to maintain and improve the appearance of our stations and local communities.

In east-central Scotland, Rotary clubs are particularly committed, accounting for many stations in Fife, Forth Valley, the Lothians and Tayside.

The Inverclyde Association for Mental Health has adopted 15 stations, while the NHS Restart programme has four - including our 200th adopted station at Carntyne. The Wise Wellbeing Project, the first line-of-route adopter, adopted all six stations on the Whifflet line.

Clydesdale Community Initiatives have fostered several imaginative adoptions in Lanarkshire, including NHS Beckford Lodge's willow-weave athlete at Hamilton West. MSP Margaret McCulloch has also championed station adoption on the Hamilton and East Kilbride lines. Gardening groups are active at stations on the south electric and Barrhead lines.


Adopter Recognition
In 2013, the Best Large Volunteer Project at the Community Rail Awards was presented to Louis Wall, whose South-West Rail Adopters Group now covers 21 stations. Louis, whose award now hangs at Irvine station, was also recognised for planting lemon eucalyptus which drove the midges out of the shelter at Barrhill.

Another Community Rail Awards winner was the Friends of Wemyss Bay Station. Their tiered planters restored this iconic location to its Edwardian glory and helped to win them best station adopter group at the 2010 awards. Notable award-winners at Beautiful Scotland or Britain in Bloom, with commendations for their station, included North Berwick in Bloom, Uddingston Pride and Pitlochry in Bloom, while Keep Scotland Beautiful tidy stations assessment for ScotRail gave top place to a solo adopter - Peter McKinley at Whitecraigs.

Helensburgh Central became the 50th station to be ‘adopted’ in October 2007. Since then, it has gone on to win a number of awards for the gardens and hanging baskets in and around the station.

"The way in which Adopt a Station has got local people involved and given volunteers a real purpose is also a good thing."

Darrel Hendrie, driver instructor based at Glasgow

Safety arrangements

While youíre on our premises, our concern is your safety ñ and that of our passengers and staff. We therefore ask you to follow a few simple rules.

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Your contact will be with our local Station Team Manager, who will brief you on site prior to the commencement of the planting season. During the meeting to discuss the intended work the Station Team Manager will consider all aspects of rail safety including whether this will affect the sighting of signalling equipment, CIS monitors, and restricted widths of platforms and access routes, Thereafter all of the work that you do must be on the basis agreed with them, ie by named individuals, on specified days, at specified times, for the agreed range of activities. The Station Team Manager and ScotRail staff may make unannounced visits while work is taking place, and for your safety and the safety of others their instructions must be obeyed at all times.

At staffed stations all visitors must report to the station staff for briefing, and should sign in and out of the station individually. The staff are in charge of the location and you must always obey their instructions. If for any reason there are no staff present then the requirements for “unstaffed stations” apply.

At unstaffed stations the Station Team Manager will provide a copy of the local station emergency arrangements. Many stations now have on-line CCTV monitored from our Customer Services Centres at Paisley and Dunfermline. You should advise of your presence, as well as advising when you leave the premises to the CCTV operator using the nearest Help Point.

General Safety Arrangements

You must arrive and leave the station by the normal public access routes.

High visibility clothing must be worn at all times when on First ScotRail stations.

Work sites must be protected by barriers of suitably approved material to prohibit access to site from other station users


Overhead electrified line equipment will cause death if touched. Where the line is electrified, you or any tools and equipment must not come within 3 metres of the overhead line equipment. These requirements will be fully explained during the safety briefing.

You should not work or place tools and equipment within 2 metres of the platform edge. At stations where high speed trains pass this must be increased to 2.5 metres of the edge (you will be advised if the increased requirement applies during the safety briefing with the Station Team Manager).

Hard hats or bumps caps must be worn when working under footbridges or other structures less than 2m in height. Safety glasses/ goggles must be worn when working above head height and if risk of splashing exists. Safety footwear must be worn at all times. Safety gloves must be worn at all times [these should thickness durability also provide protection against needles and syringe injuries].

Hoses or pressure washers must NOT be used, and water should be carried in an appropriate container. Any spillages must be cleaned up immediately.

No debris must be allowed to accumulate on platforms or access routes. This must be removed from the site at the end of each working day. Safe access for other station users should be maintained at all times.

Any work at height which requires the use of ladders or other access equipment will require location specific approval by our Facilities Department/Safety Section. If approval is giving then this equipment must be certified as fit for use six monthly. Companies which can certify this equipment include

Any work which requires powered equipment e.g. strimmers, cultivators, hedge trimmers, etc will require location specific approval by our Facilities Department/Safety Section. Equipment must be certified as fit for use by an approved maintenance contractor. Equipment users must have a current operators certificate.

Any proposed work which requires to be carried out on embankments or gradients must be discussed and agreed by our Facilities Department.

The use of chemicals, pesticides, petrol/diesel fuel must be strictly controlled and is subject to approval by ScotRail following provision of appropriate COSHH assessments/method statements.

Before authority is given for minors or people with special needs to work at locations ScotRail will require a comprehensive method statement detailing the control measures which will ensure the safety and supervision of individuals.

ScotRail suggests that individuals have had basic Manual Handling instruction.

Adopters or potential adopters are liable to pay any applicable local authority rates, heat and light, as well as all legal and professional fees which might be incurred as a result of their interest in our property. To find out more, you can download and print out a form here. Once completed, please return it to John Yellowlees, ScotRailís External Relations Manager at or by post to:

John Yellowlees
First ScotRail
Atrium Court
50 Waterloo Street
G2 6HQ
(T 0141-335 4787 or F 0141-335 4791)