The UIC Sustainable Land Use (SLU) Network meeting was held at UIC HQ in Paris on 10 April. The working group is composed of experts in biodiversity, vegetation management and soil remediation.
The objective of vegetation control is to keep the railway track area plant-free as encroaching weeds can endanger the safe passage and braking of trains as well as the functioning of the control-command and signalling system. The most widespread and cost-efficient measure of vegetation control for the railway track area is the application of herbicides and the current approval of glyphosate, which is the most commonly used active agent in herbicides, will expire in 2022.
After a comprehensive survey performed by UIC for the HERBIE project, the SLU Network has officially concluded and published the “UIC Guidelines for Integrated Vegetation Management” and “the State of the Art and Integrated Assessment of Weed Control and Management of Railways” on December 2018. The publications are available at:
The railway sector urgently needs to transition between the Herbicide based to a non-Herbicide based vegetation control. Now, SLU manages a follow-up project TRISTRAM (Transition Strategy on Vegetation Management) which kicked off in January 2019 and will end in December 2020. The final dissemination workshop will be organised in the second half of 2020. To be able to exchange the knowledge between members, the questionnaire will be prepared and shared with participants via https://events.uic.org/tristram-knowledge-exchange.
TRISTRAM will provide a global strategy to facilitate and boost information between railways on all aspects of integrated vegetation control with special focus on investigations and experiences with alternative methods of vegetation control for the railway track area including the regulatory constraints. The global strategy will be future-proof in terms of legislation and regulation at EU and national levels.
TRISTRAM has participants from most of the European railways such as Austria (ÖBB), Belgium (Infrabel/SNCB), Czech Republic (SZDC), France (SNCF), Finland (FTA), Germany (DB), Italy (FS-RFI), Netherlands (Prorail-NS), Spain (ADIF), Sweden (Trafikverket), Switzerland (SBB) and including some visitors from Norway (Bane NOR) and Portugal (Infraestruturas de Portugal). The SLU Network is working in close cooperation with CER to provide UIC with the political developments and the discussions currently happening in Brussels.
Technical experts on this topic are invited to join the group and to get in contact with the Sustainable Development Unit at UIC.