Attack on Plants

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TheEdge

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I've noticed, at least in the Anglia region, that there seems to be a new crusade against plant life near the line. Everything from embankments, the lineside and disused platforms seems to have become a target. In places it looks less like its been done with chainsaws and strimmers and more like NR have got hold of some Agent Orange and are laying waste to the plantlife. Everything from weeds through bushes up to mature trees is going.

Is this a new national crusade or has Greater Anglia pushed NR hard after the winter of wheel flats to get rid of lineside foliage in Anglia?
 
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HowardGWR

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I've noticed, at least in the Anglia region, that there seems to be a new crusade against plant life near the line. Everything from embankments, the lineside and disused platforms seems to have become a target. In places it looks less like its been done with chainsaws and strimmers and more like NR have got hold of some Agent Orange and are laying waste to the plantlife. Everything from weeds through bushes up to mature trees is going.

Is this a new national crusade or has Greater Anglia pushed NR hard after the winter of wheel flats to get rid of lineside foliage in Anglia?

If you follow Modern Railways, then Ian Walmsley's articles may be the trigger for this action. He has made the point that a team of chain saw operatives could produce the greatest BCR for an investment that NR has ever seen.
 

Bald Rick

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If you follow Modern Railways, then Ian Walmsley's articles may be the trigger for this action. He has made the point that a team of chain saw operatives could produce the greatest BCR for an investment that NR has ever seen.

It's a bit of a stretch to suggest that Walmsley triggered it.
 

Phil from Mon

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It's a pity they won't do the same with the Japanese knotweed that infests the track around Criccieth. Despite it being a scheduled weed with a legal duty on landowners to destroy it, the plant is encroaching onto householders' land and making it hard if not impossible for some to sell. It doesn't help that the regulatory authority, in this case Natural Resources Wales, won't take enforcement action either.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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It's a pity they won't do the same with the Japanese knotweed that infests the track around Criccieth. Despite it being a scheduled weed with a legal duty on landowners to destroy it, the plant is encroaching onto householders' land and making it hard if not impossible for some to sell. It doesn't help that the regulatory authority, in this case Natural Resources Wales, won't take enforcement action either.

Japanese Knotweed is one of the hardest plants to eradicate, as even the tiniest part of the below-surface area that is left in the ground will cause regrowth. I have spoken to a senior horticulturalist of the National Trust whilst he was organising the eradication of the plant that had taken hold in the top area part of the Secret Garden at Quarry Bank Mill and the National Trust, like Network Rail, have had numerous instances of recent eradication works.
 

DarloRich

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It's a bit of a stretch to suggest that Walmsley triggered it.

just a bit of a stretch!

More likely that this is the best window, before bird nesting season but with minimum foliage to deal with. We have a lot going on over/up here, but some of that is ahead of electrification works.

Correct - there is loads going on all over.

It's a pity they won't do the same with the Japanese knotweed that infests the track around Criccieth. Despite it being a scheduled weed with a legal duty on landowners to destroy it, the plant is encroaching onto householders' land and making it hard if not impossible for some to sell. It doesn't help that the regulatory authority, in this case Natural Resources Wales, won't take enforcement action either.

Japanese Knotweed is one of the hardest plants to eradicate, as even the tiniest part of the below-surface area that is left in the ground will cause regrowth. I have spoken to a senior horticulturalist of the National Trust whilst he was organising the eradication of the plant that had taken hold in the top area part of the Secret Garden at Quarry Bank Mill and the National Trust, like Network Rail, have had numerous instances of recent eradication works.


You make irradiation sound simple! I wish it were so! As Paul suggests it is a nightmare to shift and takes ages and several treatments. Knotweed can spread from incredibly small parts of the root and grows like crazy.

Digging out doesn't always work due to the massive root system and the remains of the plant are classed as "controlled waste" which needs special disposal. Fire doesn't often work as it doesn't kill the root and I doubt that is allowed these days ;)

An example - years ago I worked for a builders and we had to get knotweed out of a derelict house garden. We needed a jcb to get at the roots - the ball was massive, like something out of science fiction film - and it filled a skip when we dragged it out! I bet it came back shortly after we left.

The best option is a really strong glyphosate based weed killer but you need to get it into the root system. It often takes 2 or 3 applications and cut backs to kill the plant. You also have to quarantine the plant and clear and exclusion zone to prevent spread.
 

61653 HTAFC

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just a bit of a stretch!

Correct - there is loads going on all over.

You make irradiation sound simple! I wish it were so! As Paul suggests it is a nightmare to shift and takes ages and several treatments. Knotweed can spread from incredibly small parts of the root and grows like crazy.

Digging out doesn't always work due to the massive root system and the remains of the plant are classed as "controlled waste" which needs special disposal. Fire doesn't often work as it doesn't kill the root and I doubt that is allowed these days ;)

An example - years ago I worked for a builders and we had to get knotweed out of a derelict house garden. We needed a jcb to get at the roots - the ball was massive, like something out of science fiction film - and it filled a skip when we dragged it out! I bet it came back shortly after we left.

The best option is a really strong glyphosate based weed killer but you need to get it into the root system. It often takes 2 or 3 applications and cut backs to kill the plant. You also have to quarantine the plant and clear and exclusion zone to prevent spread.

Indeed my friend's house had an infestation in the grounds which undermined the foundations and took a lot of money and time to correct. With Japanese Knotweed and Grey Squirrels the Victorian/Edwardian gentry have a lot to answer for!
 

Phil.

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just a bit of a stretch!



Correct - there is loads going on all over.






You make irradiation sound simple! I wish it were so! As Paul suggests it is a nightmare to shift and takes ages and several treatments. Knotweed can spread from incredibly small parts of the root and grows like crazy.

Digging out doesn't always work due to the massive root system and the remains of the plant are classed as "controlled waste" which needs special disposal. Fire doesn't often work as it doesn't kill the root and I doubt that is allowed these days ;)

An example - years ago I worked for a builders and we had to get knotweed out of a derelict house garden. We needed a jcb to get at the roots - the ball was massive, like something out of science fiction film - and it filled a skip when we dragged it out! I bet it came back shortly after we left.

The best option is a really strong glyphosate based weed killer but you need to get it into the root system. It often takes 2 or 3 applications and cut backs to kill the plant. You also have to quarantine the plant and clear and exclusion zone to prevent spread.

It's going to be nuked?
 

Philip Phlopp

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It's a bit of a stretch to suggest that Walmsley triggered it.

Phil Verster's the more likely culprit.

He and his team (when he was at LNE) sat down with a shed load of TDA data from 2 or 3 winters ago, and properly worked out that it would be much cheaper to get chainsaw gangs in and do some proper lineside clearance work, instead of just keeping paying out compensation to TOCs for the delays caused by low adhesion, tree debris on the line and delays caused by OLE damage.

He's got quite a sizeable pot of money now at ScotRail (Phil's now head of the ScotRail Alliance) to do the same thing, and his approach is being copied across the other regions now too, but this was planned, I think when he was still at LNE, as they certainly intended to clear x number of route miles each subsequent year in light of the projected savings being realised.

It's also worth mentioning, since ScotRail is being discussed, First ScotRail got a bit of a telling off from ORR a couple of years back for being a bit too gung-ho in running services during storms and frequently hitting fallen trees and other debris on the track, after several staff and passengers were injured by bits of tree breaking windows and entering the passenger compartment. That has focused a few minds too.
 

Camden

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It's reductive and reflective of our now reductive society that values penny pinching over all else. Nothing else other than widest profit margin has any value, and anything that has no value (to these people) is redundant and therefore freely disposable. Let alone if it actually costs.
 

absolutelymilk

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It's reductive and reflective of our now reductive society that values penny pinching over all else. Nothing else other than widest profit margin has any value, and anything that has no value (to these people) is redundant and therefore freely disposable. Let alone if it actually costs.

Erm what? Surely it is cutting down trees near the track to reduce delays from leaf fall and possible accidents when large branches fall on the line or trees get blown over onto it.
 

DarloRich

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It's reductive and reflective of our now reductive society that values penny pinching over all else. Nothing else other than widest profit margin has any value, and anything that has no value (to these people) is redundant and therefore freely disposable. Let alone if it actually costs.

er..................
 

Carntyne

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Phil Verster's the more likely culprit.

He and his team (when he was at LNE) sat down with a shed load of TDA data from 2 or 3 winters ago, and properly worked out that it would be much cheaper to get chainsaw gangs in and do some proper lineside clearance work, instead of just keeping paying out compensation to TOCs for the delays caused by low adhesion, tree debris on the line and delays caused by OLE damage.

He's got quite a sizeable pot of money now at ScotRail (Phil's now head of the ScotRail Alliance) to do the same thing, and his approach is being copied across the other regions now too, but this was planned, I think when he was still at LNE, as they certainly intended to clear x number of route miles each subsequent year in light of the projected savings being realised.

It's also worth mentioning, since ScotRail is being discussed, First ScotRail got a bit of a telling off from ORR a couple of years back for being a bit too gung-ho in running services during storms and frequently hitting fallen trees and other debris on the track, after several staff and passengers were injured by bits of tree breaking windows and entering the passenger compartment. That has focused a few minds too.

The amount of clearance going on on Glasgow's suburban routes at the moment is a sight to behold. Absolutely brilliant to be getting it done at last.
 

route:oxford

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It's reductive and reflective of our now reductive society that values penny pinching over all else. Nothing else other than widest profit margin has any value, and anything that has no value (to these people) is redundant and therefore freely disposable. Let alone if it actually costs.

Verbosity rarely adds value.
 

Kettledrum

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There needs to be some caution exercised in clearing embankments though. The bushes and trees have root systems which can help prevent landslips, so I assume nothing is done that might have an unfortunate side effect.
 
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I say we attack the plants before they attack us. The attack on the XC Voyager the other week was the warning shot, you can't trust plants.
 

DaveNewcastle

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More likely that this is the best window, before bird nesting season but with minimum foliage to deal with.
Yes, the nesting season is considered to be from 1st March to 31st August, during which any works run the risk of being captured by an Offence of the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.

Re: Japanese knotweed
The best option is a really strong glyphosate based weed killer but you need to get it into the root system. It often takes 2 or 3 applications and cut backs to kill the plant. You also have to quarantine the plant and clear and exclusion zone to prevent spread.
I agree. I have had some great success with a programme of injecting each and every cane with concentrated glyphosate just as the flowers begin to wilt (at which time the maximum penetration of the fluid into the root system is achieved. Where the odd new shoot appears the next year, then we wipe each leaf with a cloth dampened with glyphosate on every cane except one; that one is used for the injection treatment in autumn. It's been very sucessful, except where next to NR land where the plants remain untreated.

There needs to be some caution exercised in clearing embankments though. The bushes and trees have root systems which can help prevent landslips, so I assume nothing is done that might have an unfortunate side effect.
Which is of course, a factor in having chosen Jap. knotweed to populate embankments!
 
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Bald Rick

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There needs to be some caution exercised in clearing embankments though. The bushes and trees have root systems which can help prevent landslips, so I assume nothing is done that might have an unfortunate side effect.

Not entirely correct though. Ask a decent railway geotechnical engineer, and he or she will tell you that root systems tend to weaken embankments, particularly in heavy soil. This is because of thugs quantities of water they left from thse soil, causing an imbalance in the very local geology. Many a landslide has been caused by the presence of trees. It is important to remove or destroy the main part of the root system of large trees though.
 

Busaholic

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Now, which line has the unofficial title the Triffid Line?
 

randyrippley

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getting rid of the Jap Knotweed from my garden was easy.........triple depth digging to remove the roots, then allowing them and the stems to dry and then burnt in an incinerator.
Then any new stems that grew were hoed off at about six inches (i.e. weekly) over the next three years.
That stopped it. Eventually
 

Envoy

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Not to mention Buddleia.

Yes, the Buddleia shrubs are a massive problem on railway land. When the mauve flowers turn brown - they become seeds that are then distributed by the slipstream of trains. These seeds get into every nook & cranny and take root in gardens.

I am all for trackside vegetation being cleared. It helps prevent leaves falling on the line to get pulped and also opens up views of the countryside for those travelling on the trains.

When I made a run down the Whitland to Tenby line last summer, the bushes were practically striking the side of the train.
 
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Camden

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Verbosity rarely adds value.
And your comment added nothing at all, being completely superfluous to the discussion. If you think three simple and very short sentences expressing a view are "verbose" then I think you either don't know what "verbosity" means or you may have trouble concentrating. This is longer than the first comment, so I expect I lost you about half way through...
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Yes, the Buddleia shrubs are a massive problem on railway land. When the mauve flowers turn brown - they become seeds that are then distributed by the slipstream of trains. These seeds get into every nook & cranny and take root in gardens.

I am all for trackside vegetation being cleared. It helps prevent leaves falling on the line to get pulped and also opens up views of the countryside for those travelling on the trains.

When I made a run down the Whitland to Tenby line last summer, the bushes were practically striking the side of the train.

I agree that vegetation needs to be cleared where it presents a problem, however what I have seen recently I do not recall seeing happen to such an extent, and so widespread, before. And I've lived for quite a while now and all that time we have had perfectly operational railways.
 
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D6975

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The Bristol area is being hacked at the moment. Much of it is needed for electrification work of course. The bit where Muller Rd goes under Filton bank looks really different.
 
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