Translink prepares for Bangor railway line vegetation clearance programme

Translink is preparing to carryout an important vegetation management programme that will ensure high safety and service standards along the Bangor railway line.

Running from mid January until the end of March 2011, the work will take place along the track between Marino and Helen’s Bay and will also concentrate on a half mile stretch on the Belfast side of Carnalea.

Gerard MacAtarsney, Translink NI Railways Route Manager – Bangor Railway Line, says the work is essential to minimise future service disruption:

“We have identified some mature trees and overhanging branches which could potentially be a hazard to railway operations or neighbouring properties should they be toppled in stormy weather. In addition, their removal will help to reduce the effects of wheel-slip during the Autumn leaf fall period.

“It is important we address this problem now so that we can limit any future disruption and keep our services safe, reliable and on time.

“We are planning to remove trees growing on our property which have been identified as a potential hazard as well as remove unsafe overhanging branches from trees outside the boundary of the railway line,” said Gerry.

Mr McAtarsney added that Translink will work to ensure the vegetation clearance programme is delivered in accordance with its environmental strategy:

“We are also focussed on ensuring that all work is completed within the parameters of our award-winning Biodiversity Action Plan and have completed an ecology survey* to support the programme.

“By completing the work early in the year, we will avoid causing disruption to birds during the nesting season. We will also deliver an environmental ‘off-setting’ initiative so that despite the necessity of this work to remove some vegetation, it will then be followed with activity to support biodiversity found in North Down.

“This environmental work will include placing bird and bat boxes in suitable locations along the line once the work is completed. We are also exploring opportunities to re-plant trees locally in a more suitable location.

“The majority of the clearance work will be carried out during daytime hours and we do not envisage any disruption to normal passenger services. Some night-time work will be required and noise will be kept to a minimum.

“We are engaging with local political end environmental representatives as well as contacting residents in the area to keep them informed on requirements and would ask for their support as we work to improve the local rail service,” concluded Gerry.

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