Why are trees lying on rails at all??
fallen tree on the train tracks after the Whitsun storm Ela, Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia, Ruhr Area, Castrop-Rauxel | overturned tree on railtrack after storm Ela, Germ…any, North Rhine-Westphalia, Ruhr Area, Castrop-Rauxel | Usage worldwide
Source: picture alliance / blickwinkel / D
Trees are important and beautiful, but they can also be a nuisance, at least when they are lying around pointlessly on train tracks. Is this problem really unsolvable? Our author has his doubts about this.
E.One thing puzzles after every new storm: Deutsche Bahn acts as if she were more willing to cut the connection between – for example Hamburg and Berlin – for a week or more than to cut a few trees.
When there were still steam locomotives, so the old legends tell, there were beautifully cleared areas to the left and right of the tracks. Even in the 80s or 90s, you rarely heard of closures lasting several days because a tree had fallen somewhere. Because trees do that sometimes. Especially in storms.
Now one can discuss how many meters trees should stand away from the tracks; but shouldn’t it be better to ask why they stand there, yes, even are they still being planted? The railway usually points out emphatically that it is cutting back six meters from the tracks everything that could potentially interfere. Once a year. Because, in principle, trees never grow larger than six meters.
So personally, I like trees, but I’m certainly not as fanatical about greenery as most of my countrymen and women. I also suspect that in case of doubt it is more likely to be more environmentally friendly to ensure smooth long-distance traffic and to do without a few trees, but I already see thousands of Green voters desperate over this question and wake up at night with droplets of sweat on their foreheads. My sympathies.
Source: picture alliance / Ralf Hirschbe
Some people claim that before the major rail reform in 1994 everything was better and that the trees were smaller and, above all, further away from the tracks. This may be. But back to the question that stands like a pink elephant in the room and is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore: Why are there trees at all??
It’s not like trees – even in strong storms – fly miles across the country and destroy everything that comes in their way. These things are pretty heavy. Therefore, most of the time there is no flight, but simply falls over. A process that – depending on the condition of the tree – can also occur with less wind. What shouldn’t happen, however, is that after a storm low in northern Germany, practically nothing works anymore and almost 1000 kilometers of lazy trees are affected.
We don’t live in the jungle, dear Bahn, and there are probably a few more unemployed gardeners. I hereby solemnly declare that I am willing to pay one euro more for each trip from Hamburg to Berlin (that’s a total of two euros there and back) if this somewhat medieval-looking problem with the trees is solved.
Chainsaw sponsor wanted
Passenger numbers on this not entirely unimportant route are hard to come by; But as someone who often sits on one of these trains, I can report that a seat reservation is always recommended. Just a fleeting glimpse from Berlin Central Station to the crowds that board every ICE Stream on this route is enough to know that with the two euros extra you could certainly employ a hard-working little gardener.
Perhaps there will also be a competent chainsaw sponsor and someone who will provide the man – who is perhaps the only one in Germany who should be walking around with an undercut, beard and checked shirt – with free chainsaw fuel.
No matter how you twist and turn it, trees don’t seem like an insoluble problem. And in order to spare the (immigrant) ecos who now populate half of Berlin from nightmares, the railway could plant a new one in the rainforest for every tree felled. Or in Berlin-Mitte, because there seem to be a few missing.
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10 thoughts on “Why are there trees on train tracks at all?”
I live in Celle and there are large trees very close to the tracks in the direction of Hamburg and Hanover. Therefore, this section of the route is already canceled several times a year in light storms. I like trees too, but it’s not that there is a shortage of them (this may be difficult to imagine from a Berlin apartment). The tens of thousands of rail customers who normally drive their cars are also a considerable burden for the environment. Cutting down and replanting elsewhere seems like a good solution.
I am often on the way between Gorlitz and Zittau and from there to Dresden by rail. What is on trees DIRECTLY on the tracks on these relations is very considerable and possibly also dangerous … you should definitely take a look … ok, the first-mentioned route partly runs on Polish territory, but the Poles should also have security interests to have.
Hm .. I seem to live in one of the few areas where the environmentalists hold back / are silenced or simply do not exist (backwater in the Munich area). In recent years, practically every larger, older tree has been felled, laws relaxed (why is it always only possible in such cases, never when prohibited?) And, above all, everything was concreted over afterwards. In a small town with ~ 10,000 inhabitants.
A few courageous environmentalists would not be out of place here…
As a consolation for the ecos, the areas next to the tracks would be colonized with other, quite rare plants that would otherwise have no chance in intensively cultivated areas and in the forest.
It is another problem that is only moderately complex, but one that is once again overwhelming for those responsible.
The legislature fears the mainstream in society and simply no longer regulated tree felling when the steam locomotive died out and aisles were no longer necessary due to a fire hazard. Now trees just grew back there and now animals supposedly to be protected live there. The railway does not want to do it itself, as it now costs too much money and there is no legal basis. The property owners do not feel responsible. And, in Germany, trees are sacred. Regardless of whether parks become forests, historical lines of sight and viewpoints become overgrown, trees that grow in the wild are almost inviolable. Thousands of trees are felled as part of the forestry and Germany has never had so many trees for 500 years as it is now. But you only want cases for safety in absolute exceptional cases. The public opinion is completely emotionalized here, without meaning or understanding.
It should be made a principle that the next tree may stand in the vicinity of railway lines if it is not allowed to touch the tracks or overhead lines as a result of its fall. The safety of rail operations and thus also the safety of passengers must take precedence over any nature conservation. The railway should restore this condition as soon as possible.
In Berlin, the green space management is trying to chop up the fallen trees two weeks after the storm. In the digital age, it is obviously more difficult to motivate the unemployed to do manual work than to hire press officers who full-bodied explain the many reasons for inactivity. In the countries previously apostrophized as the 3rd world, the damage would have been repaired within 24 hours.
The author is right: the problem did not exist in the past. The train was once the most reliable means of transport before it was saved. My great grandpa was a farmer and part-time track runner to secure the tracks for the Reichsbahn. That hardly exists today. Personnel have been saved, with the result that we have a poorer track today than in the first half of the 20th century. You could do a lot with sensors today, for example…
Since the vast majority of severe storms come from north to south-west directions, it would mostly only be necessary to allow one-sided, lower vegetation, which, however, would have to be tended.
And there are enough examples of corresponding security obligations for private residents in other areas as well.
In fact, a few bushes at least 3 m apart would do the same. And it would also be ecologically valuable.