The sludgy, complex problem of trains and leaves on the line | WIRED UK

Leaves and branches falling on UK railways cost millions to fix and cause massive delays. But simply cutting down all the trees is no solution

Trains heading towards Bradford on Avon’s tiny two-platform station, nine miles outside the historical town of Bath, pass through an avenue of coast redwood trees. The sequoias have been in the area since around the 1830s, when the railway tracks were first laid.

The rows of trees are the tallest lining Britain’s 20,000 miles of railway track but they are only a tiny portion of more than ten million trees within 60 metres of the country’s railways.

In 2017, Network Rail estimated that 20.1 per cent of the trees next to train tracks in England were from the ash species, 18.1 per cent were oak, sycamores made up 16.5 per cent, while less common Lime trees and Horse chestnuts make up fewer than one per cent each. The sludgy, complex problem of trains and leaves on the line | WIRED UK

 

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