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Vacant Railway Arches – An Open Invitation for Illegal Activity

Network Rail, the owner of Britain’s railway infrastructure, hit the headlines at the end of 2018, when it was announced that Blackstone, an American private equity firm, and Telereal Trillium, a multi-billion pound property management and development company, would be purchasing a 150-year lease on Network Rail’s 5,261 rental spaces for £1.46 billion, becoming the UK’s largest landlord for small businesses.

The UK’s railway arches are often home to a wide range of small businesses, many of which closed during the coronavirus pandemic and when the arches become vacant, the chances of illegal activity rises.

A Tailored Security Solution For A Complex Problem

Empty railway arches can be found across the UK. The unique shape and old brickwork present some interesting challenges to providing effective security while maintaining the quality of the exterior.

For example, many railway arches include two open ends used as entrances. One end of the arch is typically a large open entrance. The other end is often partially bricked up with a roller shutter in the centre and a standard door to the side.

Car parks may also be included on some sites, and are often targeted by fly-tippers and travellers.

In January 2021, police were called in following reports of an illegal rave taking place in a vacant railway arch in Hackney, London. Once police had shut down the event, Clearway was called in to secure the arch to prevent any further illegal activity from taking place.

The security solution we provided for the arch was a great success. Click here to read the case study.

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