OREANDA-NEWS. Network Rail is holding an information drop-in event to explain upcoming vegetation work on the Wirral.

2.5 miles of vegetation management work will take place over four weeks starting on Monday 17 October between Hooton and Bromborough. The work is essential to keep passengers and workers safe.

Last year across Britain around 1,000 trains collided with fallen trees or large branches – a number Network Rail is keen to reduce. Each year there are increased instances of trees and branches blocking or closing lines, disrupting passengers’ journeys.

Cutting trees and vegetation back to a safe distance from the tracks allows train drivers to clearly see signals – the traffic lights of the railway – and to spot potential hazards as soon as possible.

At the event, which takes place on Wednesday 28 September between 4pm and 6.30pm at Delamere (community) Centre, Delamere Ave, Wirral, CH62 9ED , Network Rail staff will be on hand to explain why this work is so important for railway safety and how they will tackle the challenge in this area.

Wayne Evans, project manager for Network Rail said: “Vegetation management is an essential part of railway maintenance and is crucial to keeping both trains and passengers safe on the network.

“We encourage our lineside neighbours to come along to understand the work we are doing and how it may affect them. Our project team will be on hand to answer any questions and address any concerns they may have.

Vegetation removal – the facts

In 2013 incidents caused by vegetation cost the railway industry ?100m.  Storm, rain and wind events resulted in approximately 1,500 incidents in 2013-14 where trees caused disruption to the network.

With 20,000 miles of track and an estimated 2.5 million trees growing on the lineside, 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 mean that the railway in Great Britain faces more serious challenges than most other countries.

Lineside vegetation can obscure signals, get blown onto the tracks, or grow to an extent where our staff do not have a safe place to wait whilst trains pass.

We will be removing lineside trees and plants which pose a significant safety or performance risk. Vegetation management also helps to prevent leaves falling on the track which can hamper train acceleration and braking.

Areas are assessed on a case-by-case basis, however all sites will see a clear six-metre wide corridor created (where available) on either side of the track, along with the removal of leaf fall species (for example ash and sycamore) and any trees tall enough to fall into the path of a train or onto other parts of the railway infrastructure.

Before works start Network Rail or our representatives carry out an ecological survey. Any protected species or nesting birds are identified and appropriate methods of working are put into place.  Although the works do not require the submission of a planning application, where appropriate we will notify your local authority and any relevant statutory bodies.

About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.