Environmental dimension

Vegetation control as a means of ensuring safe rail operations

In the year under review, 50 t of herbicides in total were applied to our tracks, and with a track length of about 61,000 km, about 90% of the tracks were treated. The amount applied is equal to 0.9 kg/km of track. As flazasulfuron, flumioxazin and Glyphosate were applied, only substances that have been approved by the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit; BVL) specifically for use in the vicinity of tracks were used during the treatment. The amount of herbicides used in the vicinity of tracks has been declining over the last few years. In addition to unusual weather conditions, this is also attributable to the new application systems in testing. We are conducting two studies to help develop eco-­friendly vegetation maintenance along our train-paths and energy supply lines in the future: one examining the possibilities for environmental vegetation maintenance along rail lines; and one involving Deutsche Umwelthilfe e. V. (German environmental aid), DB Netze Energy and other transmission system operators to investigate the possibilities of habitat-­linked vegetation maintenance under energy supply lines.

Protecting birds from catenary systems

We set up new overhead catenary systems so that birds NO. 33 are protected against electrocution. This is achieved in part by using longer insulators. We documented about 3,500 short-­circuit events caused by animals in the year under review. About 92% of them were caused by birds and about 8% by small mammals. Isolators on existing systems have been fitted with small animal deterrents since 2018 as part of the full overhead line inspection, providing birds with greater protection from electrocution. Traction current lines in areas that have a high risk of bird collisions are also being made safe, for example by fitting special Bird diverters NO. 140.

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