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Harpenden residents and Govia Thameslink Railway staff get planting

Press release   •   Jul 19, 2019 13:35 BST

Govia Thameslink Railway staff were joined by Harpenden residents for a gardening project at the station

New floral displays have brightened up Harpenden station thanks to the efforts of residents and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) staff.

On Wednesday (17 July), GTR colleagues and members of the public joined forces to paint 10 planters, fill them with 2,000 litres of compost and plant around 100 locally sourced shrubs and flowers, including Bidens, Vinca, Heuchera and Calibrachoa.

Planters were all constructed by inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison, The Mount, based at Hemel Hempstead, as part of an ongoing community programme with GTR.

Retired European economist Stephen Webster, who lives in Harpenden, was among those to pick up a trowel and help with the planting. The 70-year-old said: “I saw the posters and thought it was an interesting scheme. I’m very keen on gardening, and anything to brighten up the station on the daily commute is a very good idea, and GTR staff very nice people to work with as well.”

A Harpenden grandmother and her two grandchildren also got their hands dirty, taking charge of the planter next to the ticket office. The 13-year-old grandson, whose dad commutes from Harpenden, said: “We normally help nanny at the allotment, so it makes a bit of a change coming here. It fills the station with more colour.”

Harpenden garden scheme project leader Alex Hambleton, who is an Administration Team Leader from King’s Cross, said: “The whole concept is to give passengers stations they can be proud of and stations they can enjoy.”

It is hoped that now the planters are in place, members of the local community will adopt them and look after them, alongside the station team.

Harpenden Station Manager Joe Healy said: “The planters look excellent. It’s been a good team effort as well. We are now keen to hear from any local residents or community groups who would like to look after the new floral displays.”

Other stations to be brightened up with floral displays in recent weeks include Flitwick and St Albans. In the coming months, planters will also be installed at Bedford, Luton Airport Parkway and Harlington.

Rail user and keen gardener Diana Powell, of Harpenden, said as she passed through Harpenden station: “I’m very impressed with the planting. It brightens up the platforms and makes your journey more enjoyable. It’s a real improvement to the station.”

If you would like to look after the floral displays at Harpenden station, pop along and speak to station staff.

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria,,,