Aberdour Kirkcaldy vegetation, via Network Rail

Fife line rife with vegetation strife

The line between Aberdour and Kirkcaldy is set to receive major vegetation and tree management works along the 8.5-mile stretch. Network Rail will be conducting the works clear trees and vegetation from land adjacent to the railway and within the railway boundary.

This project is being implemented with the aims of keeping passengers safe whilst traversing the network, whilst keeping the trains punctual and reducing the risk for lineside neighbours.

The opening works will commence with dayshifts on the 5th of September, seeing a duration of around 19 weeks with the team working to create a clear 6-metre strip from the outside rail to the railway boundary. This clearance will specifically involve the treatment of any noxious or invasive non-native weeds within said railway corridor.

This type of project will see a great deal of slim margins for delivery, with the felling of trees needing a selective approach due to the risks of them falling across the railway. The workers must ensure to cut-back the shrubbery and trees in a delicate and coordinated fashion that will leave a balanced tree canopy around the line. Heritage and landscape tree specimens will be monitored across the project and will subsequently be retained when safe to do so.

Night work will also paly a part throughout the duration of the project, though dates and times for the shifts have not yet been allocated. These night shifts are necessary for the safety of the ecological teams as vegetations closest to the railway must be cleared in a safe fashion whilst trains are not running.

Kirsty Armstrong, Scheme Project Manager for the vegetation clearance work said,

“Network Rail manages thousands of miles of trees and vegetation along the railway to maintain safety for passengers and lineside communities and to make sure the railway runs efficiently.

“Our work between Aberdour and Kirkcaldy will create a clear, tree-free corridor either side of the railway to reduce the risks that large trees and overgrown vegetation can pose to the railway.

“Elements of this work are unavoidably at night for safety reasons; however, the teams are always mindful of the impact their work may have and do what they can to minimise this. We want to apologise in advance if anyone is disturbed by the work.”

Environmental surveys have been carried out before the work commences, conducted in and around the area for nesting birds and protected species, ensuring that the upcoming maintenance clearances will minimise their impact on the environment.

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