News from East Midlands Trains


East Midlands Trains directors and station managers compete in gardening challenge

  • Challenge takes place at Cromford station in Derbyshire
  • Plants and shrubs donated to brighten up the station
  • Passengers asked to help make their local station a greater part of the community

Directors from East Midlands Trains joined the company’s station management team for a challenge with a difference on Friday 3 May  in a bid to improve Cromford station for customers.

Five of the company’s directors, who cover customer service, finance and human resources, took time out of their normal day jobs to join a team of station managers in a challenge that saw them donning their gardening gloves and shears to transform the approach to the rural Derbyshire station.   

Their tasks for the day included cutting back overgrown shrubs, removing weeds and brambles.  A variety of plants, kindly donated by Neil Thompson Nurseries of Tansley (near Matlock) were planted along with bulbs and wildflower seeds.   

HR Director, Clare Burles, one of the directors taking part in the challenge, said: “We know how important it is that we offer our customers the best possible environment in which to catch their train.  We are already investing millions of pounds to make improvements at our stations through refurbished waiting rooms and toilets, new shelters and better information. However, we know that our customers want to feel welcome when they arrive at one of our stations, particularly at some of the smaller stations where we don’t always have staff available.

“We therefore threw down the gauntlet to our stations team to see who had the greenest fingers and who could make the best improvements to Cromford station.”

The station was divided up into different sections with each team tackling improvements to a specific area.  At the end of the challenge, Garry Purdy, Chair of the Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership judged the work of the two teams and declared the station management team the overall winner of the competition.

Garry Purdy, Chair of the Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership, said: “The Cromford Challenge is a novel and fantastic way for East Midlands Trains directors and managers to demonstrate their commitment to local stations on the Derwent Valley Line.  This staff challenge has been a great way to spruce up Cromford station and support the work of the local station volunteers”.   

The challenge was also supported by Network Rail who are keen to see the environment of local stations improved through local initiatives. This was the second time in recent months that East Midlands Trains, Network Rail and the Community Rail Partnership have worked together to improve a Derwent Valley Line station, following the successful community day at Belper.

Members of the community are now being encouraged to help maintain the garden areas by joining the East Midlands Trains Station Adoption Scheme. Members of the scheme help to keep stations looking good and the community spirit of all involved brings a great sense of pride to both East Midlands Trains teams and the local communities they serve.

At present, East Midlands Trains has 105 Station Adopters who act as the guardians of a station to ensure that it remains a pleasant and safe place to use. Stations including Belper, Blythe Bridge and Matlock Bath have teams of volunteers but East Midlands Trains is appealing for members of all communities to come forward and take pride in their local stations. Anyone interested in becoming a member should go to our station adoption page for more information.