For those of you who may be interested: Network Rail will be running a drop-in session at the Atmos Totnes Hub (Station Yard, TQ9 5JR) on Tuesday 9th August 3pm- 7pm regarding woodland management that is planned along the line from Rattery to Totnes. Staff from different departments at Network Rail will be on hand to answer your questions.

Below is an extract from a letter sent by Network Rail to local residents. However, they have asked us to circulate this information to supporters of Atmos Totnes as we know that many of you have an interest in the good upkeep of rail infrastructure.

Lineside vegetation can obscure signals, get blown onto the tracks and can grow to an extent where our staff do not have a safe place to wait whilst trains pass.  Woodland management can also help prevent leaves falling on the line which hampers train acceleration and braking. If this woodland is not managed correctly our trains, can suffer from poor performance, poor rail adhesion and a rough ride.

Following the autumn 2015 season, the number of adhesion incidents which took place on Rattery bank (between Totnes and Aish Emergency Crossover) was a cause for concern on Western Route.

In the period January 2010 – December 2015, delays due to adhesion incidents in the track sections featuring Rattery Bank incurred a considerable cost to the company due to poor performance.  Our tracks need to be in peak condition so that there are no safety risks when the trains are running.

In order to achieve this goal it has become necessary for Network Rail to manage the woodlands inside and outside our boundary.

Works will commence at the beginning of September 2016 to December 2016 from 08:00 hours to 17:00 hours.  Most of the works will take place during the day but the following night time works will occur:

Saturday 3rd September 
Saturday 10th September 
Monday 12th September – Thursday 15th September (x 4 nights)
Saturday 24th September
Saturday 1st October
Monday 3rd October – Thursday 6th October 

In certain circumstances some woodland management will often be required to take place when trains are not running, but every effort is made to keep controllable noise to a minimum; our members of staff is briefed on working responsibly in the local community.

These works will require the removal and/or cutting back of general vegetation and/or tree felling where necessary for safety operational reasons.

Before works start Network Rail or its representatives carry out an ecological survey. Any protected species or nesting birds are identified and appropriate methods of working are put into place.  Although the work do not require submission of a planning application, where appropriate we will notify your local authority and any relevant statutory bodies.

To undertake these works, we will use a variety of equipment that can include chainsaws, flail machines, chipping machines, or handsaws.  Where suitable, logs and branches will either be left to create a safe habitat for wildlife; chipped and spread evenly; or will be completely removed from site.

If you are unable to make the event on the 9th August and you require further information please contact Network Rail directly on 03457-114141