Work to ease problems caused by leaves on line

Work to cut back trees along a stretch of railway line takes place over the next three weeks.

Network Rail has said the work to remove the trees and vegetation is necessary for safety and performance reasons.

It will take place on week nights from Sunday, July 10, to Friday, July 29, between Falkirk Grahamston and Camelon stations.

The company said that, in the past few years, incidents including falling branches and leaves on the line, has cost the railway over £100 million.

Storm, rain and wind resulted in thousands of incidents disrupting the network.

The work will begin at 11pm and finish at 7am from Sunday to Friday. It will not take place on Friday or Saturday nights.

Evelyn Brown, Network Rail’s community relations manager for Scotland, said: “With 20,000 miles of track and an estimated 2.5 million trees growing on the line side, managing vegetation on the railway is not just a full-time job but one of our most important safety issues.

“Our climate, variety of trees and train frequency means that the railway in Great Britain faces more serious challenges than most other countries.”

She added that vegetation can obscure signals, get blown onto the tracks, or grow to an extent that staff do not have a space to wait whilst trains pass.

By managing the issue, it can help prevent leaves falling on the line which hampers train acceleration and braking.

Before the work starts, protected species and nesting birds are checked for and if identified, appropriate steps to work around these found.

Ms Brown added: “At Network Rail we are very aware of the impact that removing trees and vegetation can have on local communities. We particularly know that this can come as something of a shock for people who have become accustomed to lines of trees or hedges near their homes or workplaces.

“But for the safety of our passengers and employees we have no option but to take action to reduce the risk posed to the safe, reliable running of the railway.”