Most people are familiar with some aspects of railway maintenance – replacing rails and sleepers, updating signaling systems and other technichal necessities. But what about keeping the side of the railway free from vegetation?
In2Track3 includes a part where this is being looked into as well.
The vegetation management on the tracks and their surroundings is essential to ensure the safety and regularity of traffic. Too much vegetation gives rise to several potential problems; poorer functionality of train detection systems, poorer visibility for signals and security equipment and also greater risk of fire hazards and people moving too close to the railway, thus putting themselves in danger, to name a few.
In2Track3 partner SNCF-Reseau looks deeper into the problem and potential solutions. Depending on part of the railway and landscape, SNCF-Reseau’s vegetation management needs to be done in different ways; on the green outlands, the aim is to maintain a controlled shrub cover on the surroundings areas, with a grassland cover on the close strips. On the track and safety path which is the core of the infrastructure, the aim is to be as close as possible to the zero vegetation for the security reasons mentioned above.
One way to reduce the vegetation is to use pesticides. However, with increasing environmental awareness, new rules come into place, and the pesticides that have traditionally been used need to be replaced with other methods. One way is to find other chemicals that can do the job just as well as the ones now to be forbidden but with less environmental impact, but another way is being investigated as well – The use of Electromagnetic waves.
The feasability study is just in its first phase, but it will be followed up more upon during the project – for SNCF and a better future for us all.