Jump to content
graeme3000

Tree work in close proximity to railway lines and platform

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

I hope I have come to the right place to post this - and thanks for listening. I'm by no means an arborist but my tree surgeon has suggested that I use this forum to ask for a bit of advice and guidance; any of which would be welcomed and very much appreciated!

 

I live in an old Station Master's house and my back garden runs parallel to the village station platform for about 50 meters. I have about 40-odd very large Leylandii trees bordering the station platform, most of which overhang the platform at height to a greater or lesser extent (picture attached). The rail operator has asked me to address this problem by either removing or reducing the trees, and initially suggested that I use one of their contractors. However, their contractor's price was prohibitively high (over £15k for removal) so I have looked into other options. I have found a great local, reputable alternative who can complete the job for around £5.2k. All good news.. except Network Rail (NR) are now insisting that I cannot complete the job without their involvement due to the proximity of the trees in relation to the platform and tracks. Of course NR are not willing to do this for nothing and they have effectively quoted about £1.5k PER DAY for project management, site safety officers and other "bloatware" etc etc. My tree surgeon has suggested that the job could take around 10 days, so it's easy to see how the NR costs could spiral out of control.

 

I have considered just doing the job without NR's involvement, but they have made it very clear to me that the potential fines and liability if things go wrong are huge. I'm not sure whether this is just a scare tactic, or whether I would actually be liable if trains were delayed/damaged or NR property was damaged.

 

I have also asked for a forward schedule of rail line closures so that I could plan the work for when trains are not running to reduce the risk, but they have declined to provide this information and are unwilling to accept this as a feasible option.

 

I was wondering whether anyone has ever come across a similar situation - specifically dealing with Network Rail - and could advise on my rights as a private landowner or offer any advice on how I could deal with Network Rail?

 

I'm keen to do the right thing but I am a private home owner after all, and have little cash to to burn! I think NR's costs, in comparison to my tree surgeon's costs, are ridiculous and there seems to be a reluctance from NR to consider alternatives.

 

Thanks again all for any advice or guidance you could offer.

 

Graeme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

God forbid anything should happen, would the liability not lay with your chosen contractor?

As the landowner you have met your obligation by checking that the contractor has all relevant insurance and certificates.

1.5k per day for them to watch others work seems quite frankly bonkers.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have come across this sort of NR money-printing madness. And recently I tried to get to the bottom of it to see on what basis NR can insist on supervising. Indeed, on what basis canit insist on tree removal or pruning. I was unable to find anything but the most ancient and vague of legislation.

 

The bottom line from NR's side seems to be a zero tolerance of risk. The rest of us mere mortals are bound by law only to avoid foreseeable risk that would cause significant harm or injury. NR seems to have a culture of insisting on H&S measures whether it is right to or not.

 

Although I don't envy your situation, if I were in it I would be insisting on a definite statement of NR's legal basis for requiring all these measures. If I didn't get one, then it's a common law issue, involving the usual (mortals) level of duty of care.

 

For the sake of this forum, can you say if it is an eletrified line with overhead wires?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not an expert but used to cut/climb on the railways but just as a lowly basic grunt.

 

Must admit i was never sure who paid for jobs but generally i believed NR would pay for the job themselves at no cost to home owners, infact we used to do extra work for home owners if they let us have decent access/cups of tea etc.

They will be allowed to cut back to boundry without ur permisson, (used to work to a 5 or 6m clearance to nearest line) but ackward unless u have access to the stem.

 

I've definately been on jobs where we have felled/severely reduced whole trees outside NR property and beyond the 5/6m clearance, i believed at no cost to the home/landowner owner as it will work out cheaper long term than constantly trimming the trees every 5 years

 

I'd wait and see wot other advice comes in on here, don't think they can't bully u into taking them down with out legal things, esp if u don't want them down.

Possibly NR are cost cutting but in past if they wanted trees cut back i thought the home owner cut a deal with contractor/contractors surveyor to top them etc in return for access etc or leaving brash/logs etc (normally all chipped/off site)

 

I definately would not rush into paying large sums for their removal esp if ur not really wanting them removed.

Do u have any other things u could use as a barginning chip with NR? Is access bad trackside ? always handy getting decent access away from trackside

 

They used to work a sort of 5-7 year rota going round lines, so having a word with the cutting crew when they come may help and possibly offer to slip them something extra to do the work for u. Althou i think NR are far stricter now with small crews working in middle of nowherephoneing on/off and GPS , when i was on it they'd hardly ever know where u were or wot u were doing so would be very easy to do a few extra hours each nite to do a job like that

 

It will depend how over hanging the trees are and how close they are to lines/overheads, but if u ave to enter railway land ur meant to have a COSS and other nonesense H$S bs

Edited by drinksloe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was wondering whether anyone has ever come across a similar situation - specifically dealing with Network Rail - and could advise on my rights as a private landowner or offer any advice on how I could deal with Network Rail?

 

I'm keen to do the right thing but I am a private home owner after all, and have little cash to to burn! I think NR's costs, in comparison to my tree surgeon's costs, are ridiculous and there seems to be a reluctance from NR to consider alternatives.

 

Thanks again all for any advice or guidance you could offer.

 

Graeme

 

If the trees are within 3 metres of the nearest rail then you do have to comply with NR rules, similarly if you are working on their land. You are right in thinking the work should be done during a "possession" but it will still need a safe system of work to satisfy NR. PM sent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you looked at your title deeds? Is there anything preventing you planting trees along your boundary?

 

If there is nothing on your deeds I would write a letter saying "if these trees bother you, you can cut them down at your own expense".

 

I'd also be looking to see if there is an ombudsman for NR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If the trees are within 3 metres of the nearest rail then you do have to comply with NR rules,

 

Just out of interest, where is that written?:confused1:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just out of interest, where is that written?:confused1:

 

I'd have to read the rule book to see how NR derive their authority as a statutary undertaking but to work for Network Rail you have to be assessed as competent, the competency starts with Personal Track Safety which covers the basics of safe working on the railway. The PTS competency defines on or near the line as within 3 metres of the nearest running rail (or 1.2 metres on a station platform).

 

But there are also the normal rules for tree felling of two tree lengths that have to be observed on 3rd party land and near a power line. NR also classify threats to the conductor rail which may require a line block.

 

Consider also that delays to trains is charged in hundreds or thousands of pounds per minute for delays to the TOCs and NR will pass this cost on to a householder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NR - especially those in "safety" roles are singularly the most institutionalised (their own!) corporate bullies I have ever encountered.

 

Have you tried informing them that you would be content for them to reduce the overhang back to the boundary?

 

Since you mention living in the the old station house are there any specific liabilities / way leaves / covenants that might apply?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Featured Adverts

About

Arbtalk.co.uk is a hub for the arboriculture industry in the UK.  
If you're just starting out and you need business, equipment, tech or training support you're in the right place.  If you've done it, made it, got a van load of oily t-shirts and have decided to give something back by sharing your knowledge or wisdom,  then you're welcome too.
If you would like to contribute to making this industry more effective and safe then welcome.
Just like a living tree, it'll always be a work in progress.
Please have a look around, sign up, share and contribute the best you have.

See you inside.

The Arbtalk Team

Follow us

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.