Rail authority hits back over tap criticism

Rail bosses have hit back after they were criticised for not helping volunteers who have spent thousands of hours improving Belper station.

Last week, the Belper News reported how Transition Belper said they were disappointed chiefs at multi-billion pound authority Network Rail had refused to fund a tap for them to water plants.

The group, who have been nominated for a national award for transforming the station from a wasteland into a welcoming environment had been spending up to two hours a day transporting water from their homes during the hot weather.

Now, bosses at the authority have responded by saying that they haven’t funded taps at other stations and that they had looked into other possible solutions at Belper without success.

A spokesman said: “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to help the Belper station garden project with a direct water supply, simply because we aren’t funded for such things for such schemes.

“We do have a number of other such similar schemes around the network which use water butts etc to collect rainwater and we don’t have a direct water supply to those either.

“We have supported the establishment of this garden but unfortunately we just do not have funding for a direct water supply.

“On behalf of the team involved with the gardenwe have also spoken to the station to see if we can find another solution but we haven’t found one yet.”

Kathy Fairweather from Transition Belper accused bosses at Network Rail of “lining their pockets” in last week’s Belper News and called their refusal to fund a tap at the station“ridiculous”.

Figures show Belper is the busiest commuter station on the Derwent Valley Line and passenger journeys have increased by 125 per cent during the last five years, from 79,207 in 2007/8 to 177,528 in 2012/13.