Adopt a station

The Adopt a Station programme is one of the most popular ways people volunteer with us.

Traditionally many stations were famous for their gardens – often created and managed by local station staff to greet the travelling public.

More recently local community volunteers across the country have become involved in undertaking work to improve the physical environment of many stations. This work has included activities such as planters, station gardens, information boards and much more. Currently more than 270 ScotRail stations and 1,200 volunteers are now part of Adopt a Station​ across the country.​

Who adopts?

Our adopters are as varied and unique as our stations and include individual volunteers, local community groups, charities schools, businesses and local organisations such as the NHS.

How to get involved:

If you are interested in station adoption the first thing you need to do is register interest by email: [email protected]

Include:

  • Your name, address and contact telephone number
  • Name of the station you're interested in adopting or becoming involved with
  • Whether you're part of a group or applying as an individual

We'll get in touch to discuss and arrange a meeting. We'll send you two forms to complete: a planting plan and a contact details form.

We'll arrange a meeting between you and one of the team.

They'll work with you to tailor your plans for the station. It gives you the chance to talk your ideas through and get an idea of the practicalities. Where's the water supply, how many planters can the station accommodate, and how much can you look after?

You'll get a comprehensive volunteering safety briefing and a hi-viz orange vest with "volunteer" written across the back. The briefing outlines safe operating procedures, protective clothing, safety equipment and what to do in an emergency. We take our volunteers’ safety very seriously and have created these guidelines so you can get the most out of the experience. Find out more

Once plans are agreed, we’ll organise for any planters to be secured to the platform and after that it’s over to you!

Let us know if any of your plans involve work using ladders, powered equipment, chemicals or work on slopes. Our Facilities team of trained professionals may be able to help, so you can concentrate on doing what you love – the gardening.

What to plant:

  • Start with your initial plan – what space is available and what will thrive in that environment?
  • Remember that today’s sapling will be tomorrow’s tree! Don’t plant species that may grow out of hand and get in the way of the station’s operation.
  • Some stations have flowerbeds you could revitalise. Fence-mounted baskets are eye-catching and work well to add colour.
  • Don't just think about flowering plants – ornamental vegetables can be attractive. Or, how about inviting passengers to pick their own herbs?
  • Sometimes artificial flowers or plants can look good in difficult-to-water places such as under canopies.
  • Consider the ongoing maintenance required and how much time you realistically have available.
  • Don’t be afraid to start small, you can always add more later.
  • Make sure you get permission from us before undertaking any work at a station.

We can reimburse costs for planting materials up to the annual budget set for the station you're adopting. The budget is set at the start of every financial year. Contact us to check what the budget is for your station at [email protected]

We don’t want you to be out of pocket for too long so please try to send expenses claims to us within 30 days of purchase.

How to claim

We prefer to reimburse costs directly into a bank account. To process an expenses claim, we need:

  • Your name and contact details
  • Bank details – name on the account, sort code and account number
  • The name of the station adopted
  • Copies of all receipts or invoices

You can make a claim by email. Scan your receipts and send them to [email protected]

Or send hard copies through the post to:

Adopt a Station
Atrium Court
50 Waterloo Street
Glasgow
G2 6HQ

What's in it for you?

The garden is your pride and joy. We want people to know it’s your achievement and will display your group or business name on the planters.

We'll invite you to station adoption events periodically. Here you can meet like-minded individuals, share your ideas and successes, and get useful hints and tips on relevant subjects such as biodiversity.

We hope that praise from customers and staff will be rewarding, and give you and your team a sense of pride in the work you're doing for your community. But your hard work will be rewarded through the ScotRail Deal too. It's our way of saying thank you.

Celebrate success

  • Social media is one of the easiest ways to share what you're doing. Use your own social media accounts and, where we can, we’ll help share your stories too.
  • Local media – local newspapers and radio stations are usually on the lookout for good news stories.
  • Community Rail Partnerships (CRP) – we’ll let you know if your station is on a line with a CRP. Get in touch to see how they can help celebrate your station and what you’re achieving for it.
  • ScotRail in the Community Awards – complimentary awards and lunch held annually in June to celebrate your hard work and dedication over the year. Awards include: Adopt a station of the year, Adopt a station volunteer, CRP Volunteer and CRP Project of the Year. We encourage and welcome all volunteers to apply. For more information and to send applications contact us at [email protected].

If you're taking photos on our stations, let our staff know what you're doing and check if customers are happy to appear in the pictures.

Recruiting volunteers

Want to take on more volunteers? Consider putting up notices in community centres, libraries and hubs. Talk to the local Rotary Club. If you’re a business, put posters up at work and use the website if you have one.

If you are on a Community Rail Partnership route, attend their meetings to talk about how you’re helping to enhance the local community. Ask if you can recruit new members through their website or social media accounts.

Each new member will need a safety briefing and hi-viz vest.

Things we need to make sure of when you adopt a station

We need to know that you're safe. And we need to be able to contact you, pay expenses and log how many hours have been volunteered. However, we don’t want you to spend too much time completing paperwork so the only forms you'll be asked to fill in are:

  • Volunteer Hours Log
  • Contact Details Form
  • Annual Planting Plan

Download forms

We'll send you copies of these when you sign up and you can request extra copies from [email protected].

We take our volunteers’ safety very seriously.

We'll go through each of these points at the safety briefing before you start. It's important you read and adhere to the guidelines for your own safety and the safety of our customers and staff. And just ask us if you have any questions.

Every time you volunteer

You must:

  • Sign in at the booking office, or by using the Help Point (if you’re volunteering at an unstaffed station) as soon as you arrive at the station
  • Wear your hi-viz orange vest at all times when carrying out station adoption duties. If you lose your vest, email [email protected] and we'll order a replacement. Don’t be tempted to carry on volunteering without one – no vest means no volunteering at the station
  • Listen to any instructions from station staff – they're responsible for ensuring our stations are working effectively and customers (as well as volunteers) are safe
  • Never be under the influence of alcohol or drugs whilst carrying out station adoption duties
  • Never go on the track or venture beyond the end of the platform

Equipment

Be aware of all the potential hazards that could impact on your ability to volunteer safely:

  • Where the line is electrified, you (and any tools or equipment you're using) must stay at least 3 metres away from the overhead wires
  • Don't place tools or equipment within 2.5 metres of the platform edge
  • You must wear a hard hat when you're working under structures less than 2 metres high.
  • You must wear safety glasses or goggles when you're working above head height and if there's a risk of splashing
  • You must always wear safety footwear and gloves
  • Don't use hoses or pressure washers – carry water in an appropriate container and clean up any spillages immediately
  • Take all rubbish away with you at the end of each session, and don't leave any debris on the platform

General safety information

Do your plans involve minors or people with special needs? You must provide a comprehensive method statement detailing the control measures in place to ensure their safety and supervision. A number of our stations are maintained by school groups and mental health charities, so if you need any advice we can put you in touch with an experienced station adopter group.

If you want to plant any flowerbeds (involving digging in the station grounds), check with a member of the station adoption team before you begin. We'll make sure the ground is suitable for planting.

If you or one of your group has an accident while on our premises, report this to a member of staff straight away. If you're working at an unstaffed station, use the Help Point on the platform to contact us. The information you provide will be kept confidential and will help us ensure a safer environment for everyone.

Always...

  • Be prepared to give your name and the reason why you’re there
  • Ensure that you don’t create anything that can cause an obstruction
  • Observe basic safety rules when using hand tools; e.g. rakes and forks are standing up when not in use, secateurs are left in a locked position
  • Comply with instructions on vehicle parking
  • Stop your work if requested by a railway official
  • Report any accidents to ScotRail immediately
  • Get the correct permission from ScotRail before undertaking any work at a station

ScotRail

Adopt a Station
Atrium Court
50 Waterloo Street
Glasgow G2 6HQ​

[email protected]

Network Rail

National helpline: 03457 11 41 41