Repairs start on badger-damaged tracks in Esch; Rail traffic could resume next week
ProRail started repair works on the tracks near Esch, where digging badgers have halted train traffic, on Friday morning. “If everything goes smoothly, we expect trains to be able to run again by the end of next week,” the rail company said.
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency gave ProRail the go-ahead to start repairs on Thursday. Because the badger is a protected species, the rail manager couldn’t just start working around the animal and had to apply for a permit first. “The exemption has now been granted, and that means we can really start restoring the subsoil of the track that was affected by burrowing badgers,” ProRail said.
In preparation, ProRail mowed the vegetation around the track on Thursday to make the area less attractive to badgers. The rail company also installed one-way gates to let badgers leave the burrow but not go back in.
Because badgers are nocturnal, ProRail can only work on the track during daylight hours.
Badgers also halted train traffic at Molkwerum in Friesland. There, the damage is much more extensive and will take weeks to repair. ProRail is already taking badger-repelling measures around the track and will start repairs on Monday, April 3. The rail manager hopes to have train traffic running on the Leeuwarden-Stavoren route by April 24.