Network Rail has undertaken tree and vegetation removal close to the railway line at St. Madoes in Scotland.
On the 21st of May 2021 at around 16:45 a fallen tree caused injuries to a driver and damage to the train cab of a passenger train travelling from Dundee to Perth.
Inspections of the Dundee-Perth line following the incident revealed a number of dangerous line side trees that have now been removed to prevent future risks.
Experts have analysed the incident and believe waterlogged ground following heavy rainfall and high winds in May caused the mature, shallow-rooted variety of tree to fall across the track.
The incident has revealed how dangerous overgrown and diseased trees along with vegetation close to the railway can cause major issues and also raise safety concerns for passengers, railway staff, freight and those living close to the line side.
Network Rail’s ecology team is undertaking improvements to its line side tree and vegetation management to help prevent similar incidents. The ecology team will also devise wildlife and environmentally friendly methods for this essential work to be carried out.
The work at St. Madoes has helped keep a number of bat roosts, also known as nests, from felled trees and logs, and tree stumps were preserved to create biodiverse habitats for animals, insects and other fauna. Fencing repair work was carried out to damaged sections.
The tree and vegetation management was completed for Network Rail by Scottish Woodlands on the 26th May 2021.
Jonathan Callis, Network Rail’s senior asset engineer for Scotland’s Railway, said: “Our thoughts are with the train driver injured in this incident and we wish him well as he recovers.
“What took place at St Madoes is a very real example of how an unstable tree can present risk to the safety of Scotland’s Railway. It’s one of the reasons our teams proactively inspect rail lines and tightly control tree and vegetation growth.
“We actively encourage anyone who owns trees near rail corridors to monitor their size and health and to contact Network Rail for advice if they believe these are becoming a risk to railway safety.”
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