Railway station litter shame


Rye News received this letter and photographs from Graeme Rumley about the state of the litter behind the chain link fence at Rye Station:

I’m not a Rye resident but use the station there frequently and was appalled at the amount of litter that Southern Rail customers simply ‘lob’ over the chain link fence. What an unsightly welcome for both residents and visitors alike to the beautiful town of Rye.

I started my mission to get the litter cleared some months ago. Southern Rail told me they were unable to clear the litter as they did not know who the land belonged to, next to the platform and they would not be able to trespass on said land. They also said their staff would not be able to carry out the work for health and safety reasons. They left it to me to determine who owned the land from Network Rail. I never got a reply from Network Rail. I told Southern Rail that I would drop a line to the MP for Rye, Sally-Ann Hart to see if she could help in any way. This I did.

Clear of litter

I then had an email from George Howard-Smith, Constituency Caseworker for Sally-Ann Hart to confirm that GT Rail had attended the site on August 15th 2022 and cleared away 12 sacks of litter! Marvellous!

However, I went to visit said site from the northbound platform last on Friday 19 August and was dismayed that half a dozen fresh pieces of litter had already been thrown over the fence!

Litter lobbed over the fence again

I have gone back to George Howard-Smith to once again ask for help to get Rye Station platforms provided with litter bins. I did speak to the ticket office clerk on Friday about this too. He told me that the problem at Rye and Bexhill stations is that the plastic bin liners are attacked by seagulls even when double/triple wrapped and the contents spill onto floors causing a health and safety hazard. I asked whether different types of bins could be used but apparently the upper echelons of Southern Rail will only allow see through bins due to potential bomb placement! Bombs are a thing of the past surely? I worked in the 1980’s with IRA bomb placements going on. Surely, times have moved on? The town has metal litter bins, surely the station can too?

I hope a satisfactory conclusion will take place!

Kind Regards

Graeme Rumley


Image Credits: Gillian Roder .

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  1. Bravo for persevering. I’ve mentioned this eyesore before and no one appeared terribly concerned. I suspect quite a lot of the litter comes from the school kids. Twice I’ve taken the Rye to Hastings route this week and they’ve been throwing around soft drinks, the liquid sprayed over seats, crisps trodden into the carpet. It’s shameful. Though the blame cannot only be laid at their door. Not entirely sure what the Health & Safety hazard is for railway staff to deal with – put on some industrial rubber gloves and also use a litter-picker and reach over the fence. Further, more bins (or larger) are needed opposite the station. They are always overstuffed and takeaway food strewn across the pavement and all around the bus stop shelters. I sometimes wonder if it’s a minority that have a pride in Rye’s appearance.


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