This work will help to reduce leaf fall onto the line and improve safety by improving breaking conditions for trains calling at the station.
Leaves on the line can break down into a slippery surface that can cause train wheels to lose grip – making it harder for them to stop quickly. This can cause trains to overshoot signals or platforms and affect signalling systems – making it harder to track where trains are on the network.
Running for around one kilometre on third-party land, the tree cutting will extend from Clockluine Road (west of Dalgety Bay station) to just short of Vantage Road (east of the station).
It’s part of a project that will see native trees and shrubs planted and maintained for five years to manage the regrowth of woodland, improve biodiversity and to offset the impact of the work on the local area.
Ahead of the work, ecologists have conducted surveys for breeding birds and other protected species as well as identifying a number of trees, including a proportion of the high leaf fall species, to be retained for biodiversity reasons, such as trees with bat roost potential.
A number of bat and bird boxes will also be installed to enhance the already present natural features.
Once felling is complete, Network Rail will replant the areas with native trees and shrubs. The tree species which will be replanted are not large leaved and will therefore greatly reduce the impact that leaf fall has to the safe operation of the railway in this area.
Kirsty Armstrong, scheme project manager for tree and vegetation management work, said:
“We manage thousands of miles of trees and vegetation along the railway to try to ensure that everything which grows near the lineside is safe and does not cause delays to trains.
“We have already undertaken tree and vegetation management in this location on our land, but it has not been possible to stop leaf-fall problems from arising. We are now carrying out works outside our boundary on third party land to remove high leaf-fall species but will retaining as many trees as possible which are not in the high leaf fall category.
“Involving our ecologists in the project from the outset has helped us plan the work in a way that minimises the impact on the ecology and wildlife and helps us promote biodiversity and the sustainable management of the lineside environment.”
If the public has any questions or concerns about this work, they can contact Network Rail’s 24hr helpline on 03457 11 41 41.
Notes to Editors
In autumn, leaves on the line can affect train wheel’s grip on the rail which affects breaking distances, acceleration, and interferes with signalling systems.
Dalgety Bay station has a poor record for autumn performance issues. The Dalgety Bay area alone has had an average of 13,575 minutes’ worth of delays over the autumn season (September to December) in each of the past five years in comparison to 8,394 minutes’ worth of delays out-with the autumn season.
A letter - which included a FAQs section which anticipates and responds to many of the concerns people have when we have carried out this type of work in other areas - has been distributed in the local area and a dedicated webpage for the work has also been created in the Project Hub at www.ScotlandsRailway.com