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Author Topic: How green is your railway?  (Read 3332 times)
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2018, 07:01:37 pm »

To be fair to Network Rail, as part of the electrification project they have set up a fund for ecological mitigation projects to offset the effects of clearing a considerable amount of lineside vegetation to make it suitable for overhead lines. This is available for local wildlife groups to use for habitat creation.

The "new" (or restored?) open grassland habitat on the cleared cuttings and embankments will also not be pure loss. Those with an interest in wildlife may recall that when we had a spurt of motorway building in the 1960s and 1970s the newly created verges created an ideal habitat for small mammals, especially voles, which in turn resulted in hovering Kestrels becoming a feature of motorway journeys. As the verges have grown, this has been lost, and you don't see so many Kestrels 
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2021, 01:23:26 am »

As well as the leaves on the line and the potential hazards in high winds trees can also affect embankment stability (either way depending on the ground and the trees at a particular location see this presentation of a study done for LUL (London Underground Ltd))

Original no longer available - mirrored ((here))

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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2021, 09:14:22 pm »

you cant ask the driver of a modern freight train to do similar with a bucket of diesel followed by a lighted match to burn off the vegetation but you could employ gangs spraying a glyphosate weedkiller to kill the vegetation instead but then that costs.
But 'vegetation' in general is not a problem is it? Trees, specifically, are as they are tall which means they could block the line if they fall and there may also be more 'leverage' in play in high winds which could make them more likely to fall over. The only thing you'd want to use weedkiller on is invasive species like Japanese Knotweed. My view is that any trees far enough away that they can't fall on the line should be left alone, but I can see a case for felling trees that could fall on the line. Once the risky trees are gone, allow brambles, hedging plants etc. to grow back on the linesides and keep and eye out for anything growing too tall and cut it back or root it out to ensure it can't fall on the line. Removing tall trees near the line but allowing short hedges eliminates the risk of falling trees and may reduce leaves on the line (falling from a lower height means they have less time airborne to reach the track) while still providing a (different) wildlife habitat, unlike bare soil or short, frequently mowed, grass. Unlike a tree, which could destablise earthworks if it falls, a hedge might also help secure earthworks but I'm no expert.

Don't DOO (Driver-Only Operation (that is, trains which operate without carrying a guard)) it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
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