Downgrading Badger Sets | ProRail
Posted on April 26, 2023
Badger setts have been found under the railway tracks near Geffen and Berghem. This gives a chance of sagging and this can lead to dangerous situations. To ensure the safety of rail traffic, trains have been running more slowly here for some time now and we are monitoring these places closely.
Since a 9-day shutdown is already planned for other projects, we are also taking additional measures. We have been working hard these past few days. With the help of the Das & Boom Foundation, we built two artificial castles to provide the badger with an alternative place to stay. We then mowed the work area under the supervision of an ecologist to make it accessible.
In good consultation, we received authorization from the RVO to restore the embankment of the railway line. We immediately started follow-up work. Below we explain what activities we carry out. It is expected that all work will be completed as part of the previously scheduled decommissioning, so that we can make full use of the track again on May 8.
In Geffen, we first place an anti-digging mesh on the slope. We cut holes in the fence at the entrances to the castle. This way the badger can leave the castle under the track and move to the artificial castle. At the same time, we want to prevent the badger from digging again in other places with this mesh.
The gauze stays in place for a week. Then, so-called non-return valves are placed at the ends of the corridors. This way the badger can safely leave the burrow, but not return. The check valves remain in place for three days. We give the badger enough time to move into its new home.
Then we carefully begin to search the halls of the castle. We do it with small equipment under the supervision of an ecologist. If we encounter a badger, we stop digging and give the badger the chance to leave at night. If the badger is found the next day, we will call a veterinarian to anesthetize and treat the animal. We do this in collaboration with the Das & Boom Foundation.
After the tunnels and caves are dug, the slope is again filled and pressed. We then completely restore the track.
In Berghem, the corridors and caves of the castle also create a dangerous situation for the movement of trains, so we will also work on the restoration of the embankment here. At this location, however, the castles do not appear to be in active use. This means that we do not lay any excavation-resistant mesh, but immediately install check valves. This was properly coordinated with RVO and included in the exemption we received.
The rest of the working method in Berghem is the same as in Geffen.
After the completion of all repair work in the next few days, structural measures will also follow to prevent further excavations in the future. We do this by installing fences or installing a wire mesh in the slope. We also consider the tie here. We do this, for example, by building wildlife passages if a fence is chosen.
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