I was wondering what the "safety checks" were that were being made at Colwall, disrupting services earlier today. It transpired that a train driver discovered a hole under the side of the track, and specialists were called in to fix it after the train was guided through (that must have been a bit scary!).
Well, it seems that they think it may have been a badger sett:
Due to tunneling into embankments I have seen a number of sites on the railway were the rail top has dropped and required ESR's to be imposed with additional Stone tipped and Tamping.
In one case after permission granted from DEFRA the badgers were evicted, the Sett was flood grouted with about 10 cubes of grout.
No. a week later the badgers moved back in 60 yards up track.
Years ago we had badger problems on our area, a small sett under the WCML Up Slow line, the bank subsided and a speed restriction was imposed. We were told that we had to build a new sett, and have the badger moved before we would be allowed to fill in the old one.
This was all rather pointless as the badger had been hit by a train some weeks before. The local maintenance gang had however buried the body, out of sight fearing trouble for me from the local badger watching group. Who had been investigating where the badger was moving about, and who we had to employ to move the badger out of its old sett. This was nice of the gang, but I then felt constrained not mention that I knew the badger was dead, just in case their cover up got them into trouble.
So we built the dead badger a luxury sett on the side of the embankment, buried nice and deep to keep him safe and warm. But for some strange reason the badger people were unable to get him to move into his new home, peanuts etc seeming to have lost their appeal.
The sett lay empty and unused for about ten years, I looked in the tunnel mouths each time I happend to walk past, but only saw grass and the occasional cobweb. Eventually some passing S&T men, saw the mound the sett was built in, liked the look of it and built a new location cupboard platform on it.
My Mum and sister have got bowled by this, not sure what's happening but I don't think they've got beyond Great Malvern. Signal cut out and I've received no further gen. Glad I didn't go out to do a bash today then!
I don't wish to ruin the moment, but Network Rail believe water caused the hole, not badgers. Somebody asked them on their Twitter account if it was caused by badgers or water and they replied saying that water had caused the hole but they couldn't identify the source.