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Was the train on Xavier well prepared? The answer sounds like a lot of work.

Deutsche Bahn: The saw after the storm

Was the train on Xavier well prepared? The answer sounds like a lot of work.

Deutsche Bahn: The saw after the storm

It took days for trains to travel on time again. The force of Xavier had uprooted hundreds of trees on routes from Hamburg to Berlin or from Leer to Bremen. Like many, railroad couldn't tell until deadline. It was clear that it had gone very fast: within a few hours, branches crashed, trees tipped on tracks and damaged overhead lines, a total of 1,000 track kilometres had been damaged by storm.

Many railway travellers were stuck, some of m reaching ir destination only days later. The worst thing for many customers, however, was miserable information policy of railway. One reason for this: because network planning in one place often did not know what speakers had just announced on anor, re were contradictory announcements.

Why did railway seem so powerless against a storm that had already been warned day before? First, because storm damage is very tedious to grasp. First, company sent Erdkundungstrupps to sift through damage, even with help of helicopters. After that, squads with chainsaws cut ir way to tracks. They also helped fire brigades and technical assistance plant (THW). "The local fire brigades are often local and refore faster on site than Bahnteams", says Carsten-Michael Pix of German Fire Brigade Association. The helper in trees and branches and transported uprooted trees. Such operations coordinate and guide emergency managers of railway. All in all, cooperation with railway has been good and well-recorded for years, reporting both Fire Brigade Association and employees of THW.

No help However, train gets into problems with overhead lines. Your problem begins with fact that you cannot see from helicopter wher one of ten to twelve millimeters thick lines is torn. Employees often recognize such damage on site – or train drivers when power is not in place. Railway employees n repair lines on lifting platforms that move forward meters by meter on rails. This can take weeks in extreme cases.

But it would not have been allowed to come this far, criticized Detlef Neuß, federal chairman of passenger association per train. "The green strip on railway lines must be cut more intensively and more often," he demands. Nationwide, more than 900 foresters and so-called infrastructure keepers take care of cutting back branches and freeing up stretches of vegetation – each individual is responsible for almost 37 kilometers. A three-digit million amount was spent last year on line maintenance. The fact that circumcision is being adhered to is predominantly controlled by employees of railway.

This article comes from time No. 42/2017. Here you can read entire output.

This will probably not change so quickly, even though it was actually easier. "With drones, such controls could be carried out much faster and more cost-effectively," explains Sven Ax, managing director of Map Topomatik. The company is viewing tree stocks and catalogs m in an online tree cadastre. "We only send surveyors in real estates that are difficult to access with drones," says Ax. However, it is not surprising that railway continues to put on human inspectors: Due to legal regulations, a drone "can only be flown in sight." That means pilots must be travelling along rails. " As long as legal situation does not change, drones would not help save time or money.

It is also precisely regulated where trees are allowed to grow: six meters on both sides of rails must remain free. These so-called Rückschnittszonen are pruned annually. The adjacent area is called railway stabilization Zone. The safety of trees is checked re regularly. However, intervention is only when trees fall into danger.

Property owners must also ensure that ir trees are protected. After consultation with property owners, railway can take over precipitation.

The pro-Bahn chairman Neuß considers six-metre zone to be too narrow. Ideally, ten meters on each side should be sparsely planted. But re are problems with environmental associations. "Of course y want to keep as much green as possible," says Neuß.

Magnus Wessel, head of conservation policy at federal government, does not critically look at cropped green strip: "Naturally, a forest without snow is ideal. But since we prefer rail traffic, we have to live with it. " and an extension to ten meters? "For this, one would have to intervene in habitat at edge of forest. Wher this is a sensible cost-benefit ratio and wher this really solves problem with fallen trees in storms, I am skeptical, "says Wessel.

Pro Bahn is now proposing a round table to discuss consequences of Xavier and possible preventive measures. The German railway and its subsidiaries, representatives from politics, business and nature conservation are to participate. The train is open to it, assures a spokeswoman. However, company is already preparing for storms in or ways: only certain species such as oak and maple are being planted again. They hit ir roots especially deep into earth.

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