Wigan businessman calls for clean up of railway station to get rid of "embarrassing" rat infestation
Harry Cunliffe said he was appalled to see vermin scrabbling over the tracks at Wallgate and climb onto the platform to burrow in waste paper bins as he waited for a train.
The Standish consultant says he regularly welcomes businesspeople from outside the area at the halt and that for them to see rats scurrying around the place on their arrival “gives a very bad first impression of the town.”
He received assurances from the reception area that staff were aware of the problem and that traps had been laid but he feels that more needs to be done, not least a big clear-up of rubbish - some of it dumped over the wall from King Street West - which is providing the perfect environment for the rats to breed.
Dr Cunliffe said: “I was going into Manchester on Monday morning and as I stood on the platform I suddenly realised I could see rats on the track and on the grass at the side.
“I went to reception and asked them if they knew about the rats, saying it wasn’t a good advert for Wigan, and they said ‘yes, they are baby rats - they don’t know any better and come out in daylight.’
“They said they had put traps down but when I asked if they were doing anything else about it and they said ‘no’.
“But these creatures are coming up onto the platforms and foraging through the rubbish in the bins.
“I contacted the council but they said it was nothing to do with them.
“But someone needs to do something about this preventatively.
“I know you can’t get rid of them in such places altogether.
“But there is a lot of rubbish lying around which encourages them to show themselves.
“I’m a businessman and bring other businesspeople here. It’s not a great introduction to Wigan if they step off a train and the first thing they see is rats.”
A spokesman for Northern, whose trains run through the station, said: “The issue was reported by the station supervisor immediately after speaking to the customer.
“The station has full-time cleaning seven days a week ensuring there is no build-up of refuse.
“There are large secure bins within a dedicated compound and there are regular collections.
“Traps are in place and they are regularly checked.”
A spokesman for Network Rail, which is responsible for the track and tunnels, said that no-one had contacted its customer helpline on the issue and neither had the train operator been in touch to flag it up, so there was little the company could say.