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We need to do work to some to the trees on the rock cutting at Armley Park Road, on the line between Leeds and Shipley, to keep the railway safe for passengers

Over time, trees and their roots can cause movement of the rocks that form the cutting. This can cause it to become unstable and can lead to trees or rocks falling onto the track.

Back in July 2020, an incident occurred where a tree fell from the cutting and damaged a passenger train. While thankfully nobody was hurt, it was a serious safety incident and caused significant delay to a number of train services.

A second incident occurred in 10 September 2020, when a tree had to be removed after it began to lean over the tracks and overhead lines.

Fallen tree overhanging track
Fallen tree July 2020

We’ve carried out a survey of the trees to assess which ones need to be removed and which ones can be kept. Due to the presence of fly-tipping on the cutting, the condition of some trees was masked, or we couldn’t get close enough to make an assessment. On Saturday 3 October 2020, we started removing the fly-tipping that will allow us to assess the trees we couldn’t look at the first time. We have started removing the trees identified as being unsafe overnight on Saturdays from 31 October 2020.

Following a meeting on site between the Armley Tree Group, The Tree Council and Network Rail in December, a visual assessment was carried out of the trees closest to Armley Park Road. The images relating to those trees are available to download in the Document Summary section. The work required to make these trees safe will take place in early 2021.

The nature of working lineside – at night and often difficult weather conditions – means we cannot give an exact end date for the work but we anticipate completion will be before April 2021. We’re coppicing the trees on the cutting, and we are not treating them with chemicals, and we’ll do all we can to keep any nighttime disturbance to a minimum

We have made some changes to this project since it first started:

  • We are not removing all trees from the rock cutting. We can’t give a definitive amount due to some trees still requiring reassessment, but we have sought to save as many trees as we possibly can
  • We have allocated funds to offset biodiversity loss. This means that there will be, as a minimum, no net loss of biodiversity. Depending on what we agree with the community there may be a net gain
  • A member of Network Rail’s team will be on site on every shift so that any issues can be raised immediately
  • We have changed some of our working methods to include battery powered tools rather than mechanical ones where possible. We are also using acoustic fencing to reduce noise from the work

A summary of which trees are staying, which need to be removed (and why) and which need to be assessed further can be downloaded below.

Summary document

Progress photos

Contact us

Please visit our contact us page or call our national helpline on 03457 11 41 41.

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