With 2,600 miles of track and more than a half a million trees growing lineside across the Scottish railway network, managing lineside vegetation is both a full-time job and one of our most important safety issues.
As spring moves into summer, increased rates of growth and volumes of leaves can obstruct signals and pose a risk to the safe running of trains and so we will be removing any potentially dangerous trees and plants, prioritising areas that pose a significant risk.
Along the seven-mile section of track from Haymarket to Dalmeny we will clear between six and ten metres of vegetation on both sides of the railway – working with adjacent landowners to make sure that trees next to the railway are not a danger whether they’re on our land or not.
In advance of work beginning, we have carefully assessed and surveyed the area for nesting birds and protected species and planned the work to balance the need to protect the lineside biodiversity and to keep the railway running safely. Ongoing ecology surveys occur as the works progress and if any protected species are identified, appropriate methods of working are put in place.
We will also inform our lineside neighbours, the council, local conservation groups and statutory bodies such as Scottish Natural Heritage, as appropriate, about this work.
Gary Hopkirk, programme director at Network Rail Scotland said;
“Vegetation management is an essential part of railway maintenance and this work is crucial to keeping both trains and passengers safe.
“From our surveys of the area covered, we have established what work is needed and the best way to go about it. Though the equipment we use can be noisy, we will work responsibly and make every effort to minimise the disruption for nearby residents.
“We are aware of the impact that removing trees and vegetation can have on local communities, but we can assure them that this work is necessary to reduce the risk of incidents and to help us promote a safe and efficient railway.”
The majority of work between Haymarket and Dalmeny will take place during daytime hours from Monday to Friday from mid-May until the end of August. However, some work will be required to take place at night when train services are not in operation – this is due to take place each Saturday night – 11pm – 7.30am.
If you have any issues or concerns about this work, you can contact our 24 hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41