Rail services halted in parts of the Netherlands due to badgers burrowing under tracks
In a bizarre incident, train services have been halted in the Netherlands due to badgers burrowing under the railway tracks. The majority of the cancellations and line closures have been reported in the northern and southern parts of the Netherlands.
On Tuesday (March 21) afternoon, all train services were brought to a screeching halt on the busy line between the southern cities of Den Bosch and Boxtel, informed ProRail, the company maintaining the Dutch rail network.
According to experts, badgers like to dig into the steep sides of earthen dikes that carry Dutch train tracks. To provide an alternative, railway workers are planning to build a sandy hillock where the badgers can dig their homes without proving to be a nuisance.
Services will not be able to resume quickly as badgers are protected animals in the European country. To move them from their burrowing space or disturb their habitat requires legal permission. Only after that, the repair work can be undertaken by the railway authorities.
John Voppen, CEO of ProRail appealed to the authorities to speed up the process so that the rail services can be resumed as soon as possible.
"I note that we have to suspend train traffic for the second time in a week because badgers undermine a railway track and that it then takes a lot of time to tackle this because we have to get permission from the competent authority," said Voppen.
"In the interests of travellers and carriers, more space is needed to take action more quickly. We are of course in urgent consultation with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management about this."
Notably, this is not the first instance when these little animals have brought the rail services to a halt. Earlier this month, the badgers took to burrowing under the tracks of the northern village of Molkwerum in Friesland province.
The services on one of the lines in the region has been shut for at least next month as ProAm continues to seek permission for shifting the animals.