Electronic security solutions from Secom plc were part of a £250,000 project to improve facilities and safety at unstaffed railway stations on a key Midland route. Digital CCTV installations and associated improvements have deterred acts of vandalism – helping to boost public confidence in rail travel and increasing passenger numbers by 20%.
Working with the North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership (NSCRP) and the train operating company, Secom installed digital CCTV recording systems at Longport and Longton stations on the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent. Both stations are served by a regular service on the strategic Crewe-Stoke-Derby line.
The Secom solution includes pole mounted camera arrays at Longton, and cameras fixed to the buildings at Longport. Less obtrusive anti-vandal dome cameras are fitted to the Grade II listed station building on Longport’s southbound platform. Both systems have 30-day recording equipment, and provision for offsite monitoring if required.
Secom National Accounts Executive Ian Barthorpe says train companies have a major challenge to ensure that station facilities and waiting passengers are properly protected at all times. “The NSCRP project provides much more than a deterrent to vandalism and assault – our CCTV installations help to create a safe environment at these stations. This in turn stimulates rail travel and ultimately encourages regional economic growth,” he says.
Faye Lambert, NSCRP Project Officer, says seven of the 11 stations on the Crewe-Stoke-Derby line are either unstaffed or have limited ticket office hours. “We wanted to make them more welcoming, to encourage people to use the line,” she says. “Feedback from national and local passenger surveys was that the priorities should be safer stations, better waiting facilities and improved information for passengers.
“North Staffordshire Regeneration Zone funding has enabled us to install CCTV at Longton and Longport, as well as erecting vandal-proof waiting shelters, and installing improved platform lighting, noticeboards and a customer information system. We worked closely with Secom, which was a preferred supplier to Central Trains – the train operator when we started the project. The franchise has since been taken over by East Midland Trains, a Stagecoach company.”
Faye Lambert says the stations look much better with the modernised facilities. “Since the improvements were installed, passenger numbers have risen by about 20% and we have had no significant incidents of crime or vandalism at either station. As a result of this success we similar projects have been rolled out at unstaffed stations.”