Weed-free railways: Alternatives to Glyphosate (1)

Specialized trains accelerating to 50 km/h and spraying herbicides directly on to the tracks is currently the cheapest and most widespread measure to keep railroad tracks free of plant growth. However, the negative ecological consequences of Glyphosate require a new approach. The task of the IZT is to develop an effective alternative vegetation management system for European trains. Three potential alternatives are emerging: first, we want to work on using small amounts of organic acids. Second, we want to consider killing off the plants with focused hot water jets. This method is already being used in municipal vegetation management. Third, "electro weeding", a practice from organic farming, may be transferred to the vegetation control of trains. Here, electrical fields are used to kill off the plants.
Spray train in UK © Nick Slocombe / Smugmug
HERBIE - Guidelines, State of the Art and Integrated Assessment of Weed Control and Management for Railways
2017 - 2018
UIC - International Union of Railways, Paris, France

More information

To the the follow-up project: TRISTRAM - TRansItion STRategy on vegetAtion Management (2019-2020)

Deutsche Bahn commissioned the IZT in 1995 with a similar project. To the IZT's first study on Weed Control and Management for Railways: "Ökologischer Vergleich der Verfahren zur Vegetationskontrolle bei der Deutschen Bahn AG unter Berücksichtigung von Kostenberechnungen"  (Only German version available)

Publikationen

  • 2018

  • Nolte, Roland; Siegfried Behrendt; Maurizia Magro; Karolina Pietras-Couffignal (2018): HERBIE - Guidelines, State of the Art and Integrated Assessment of Weed Control and Management for Railways. Assessment and Recommendations. Paris: UIC-ETF (Edition Techniques Ferroviaires).

    HERBIE - Guidelines, State of the Art and Integrated Assessment of Weed Control and Management for Railways

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