Friday, 21 December 2007

Network Rail - trees to go along Birds roads and back of Sodbury

Network Rail has written to householders in the "Birds" roads (Goldcrest Rd, Robin Way, Gullivers Place) and Gaunts Road to say that they will be removing the trees on the top of the railway cutting. In the case of the Birds this is everything the railway side of the allotment fence, plus the corresponding trees the other side of the cutting, next to the farmer's land.

The work is being carried out for safety reasons. The letter explains "Vegetation can create a host of safety problems. It is well documented that during the autumn months thousands of tonnes of leaves fall onto the railway line. Passing trains compress these leaves to form a slippery black substance on the rails which can cause the train wheels to slip in a similar way to black ice on the roads".

They have also told us that they are concerned that trees may fall onto the line or that there may be a landslip like the one a few months ago at Chipping Sodbury, possibly causing a major accident. Originally Network Rail hoped to be able to keep the trees on the very tops of the cutting, but they have reassessed the the length and concluded that it has the highest risk in the South West and South Wales.

We can't really argue with such a strong safety case, although it's going to look rather bare along there. For example the phone masts that were installed a while back will now stick out like a sore thumb. We tried to persuade Network Rail to pay a contribution to environmental work somewhere near this stretch, but they say that this is just routine maintenance (quite a few years overdue? - Editor) so they are unwilling to do so.

They aim to start work around the end of January, and say that it will take about four weeks to complete.

When the trees are gone the masts opposite Robin Way will be much more visible


  1. Anonymous7:09 pm

    I would have thought that removal of these trees would be more likely to lead to landslip, since the roots will be helping to stabilise the soil on the embankment

  2. I'm not an expert in soil mechanics, so I can't comment either way. The landslip at Sodbury happened despite the tree cover at that location.