Removing risk trees from restricted areas along railway lines
Safety and smooth running of rail traffic can be significantly improved by taking proper care of the trees located in the restricted areas along railway lines and by clearing vegetation from visibility zones at level crossings. Each year, trees are removed from an area stretching for between 100 and 200 kilometres along railway lines.
Trees are also removed from forest areas belonging to private landowners because the restricted area extends beyond the railway area owned by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. For safety reasons, trees that are in poor condition and causing risks must also be removed from plots. Reviews are carried out with landowners to identify the trees and bushes that should be removed from plots.
Landowners receive a compensation for the trees removed to ensure rail safety. The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency notifies landowners of the planned felling of risk trees by letter. As the owner of the trees, the landowner has the right to decide how the trees are removed and sold.
The restricted area along rail lines means the area outside the railway area that is needed to ensure smooth running of rail traffic. The existence of the restricted area is based on the Railway Act and it usually extends 30 metres from the centre line of the tracks or the nearest rails. The restricted area is not purchased as a railway area and it remains in the landowner’s ownership and control.
A risk tree is a tree that extends to the tracks or track structures when falling. Damage to track structures and traffic disruptions cause significant costs each year.
Nature sites located in the restricted areas are considered when trees are removed
Nature reserves, endangered species, habitats of special importance referred to in the Forest Act, valuable nature sites and natural monuments located in the restricted areas are determined in advance and conservation needs are taken into account. Removal of trees may require a permit for landscape work under the Land Use and Building Act. Obtaining the official permits required for the removal of the trees is the responsibility of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.
The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency provides information and safeguards for felling trees in the restricted area along railway lines
When you are planning to fell trees in areas close to a railway line, you should contact the regional maintenance manager well before starting the work. The regional maintenance manager provides more information about occupational safety and the use of machinery in the felling of trees in a restricted area.
When felling trees in the restricted area, you must take into account both occupational safety and rail safety. The work may only be carried out by persons with the required professional competence and rail safety competence. The machinery used in the work or its parts or the trees to be felled must never be closer than three metres from the nearest rail or parts of the nearest electrified tracks under tension.
If a tree falls on the overhead wires of electrified tracks or closer than three metres from the nearest rail, you must immediately call the emergency number 112.