Drones to help ProRail prevent fallen trees, branches on Dutch train tracks

Blown down trees being lifted off the railway, 18 Jan 2018
Blown down trees being lifted off the railway, 18 Jan 2018. Photo: @ProRail / Twitter

ProRail is going to use drones and 3D scans to map out trees along the Dutch railway. In this way the rail company wants to identify trees that are at risk of falling over or losing branches before they cause delays on the tracks, NOS reports.

On average train traffic is disrupted once a week by branches that end up on the overhead lines, or a tree or leaves on the tracks, according to ProRail. Clearing a tree away can take up to six hours, and the problem is getting bigger. By pruning or cutting down trees close to the tracks, the rail manager wants to reduce delays and inconvenience to passengers. 

The Railways Act states that no trees can be within 11 meters of the tracks. But ProRail doesn't want to cut down all the trees along the railway. So the rail company will first map out the greenery to see which trees are a danger. 

For each tree that is cut down, ProRail promises to plant two new trees in another place.

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