Trees on track to save millions

 
  supertj Deputy Commissioner

Location: Sydney
A MARRIAGE between botanical science and civil engineering would be a rare one, but it would be a union from which rail authorities might profit handsomely.
University of Wollongong civil engineering PhD student Behzad Fatahi has developed a computer model that shows that planting native trees close to railway lines can save rail authorities millions of dollars spent on stabilising the soil beneath tracks. It may also help homeowners choose the best trees for their gardens.

The NSW company RailCorp spent about $2 billion between 1995 and 2005 on track maintenance, Mr Fatahi said, but his model could drastically reduce that bill.

The rail industry commissioned the development of the model after workers saw that tracks near trees required less maintenance.

Mr Fatahi said it was clear from field observations at Miram in western Victoria that trees growing about 15m to 25m from rail lines, whose roots reached under the rails, kept the soil there compact and dry.

Where there was a large gap between trees at Miram, "we could see by eye that there is a dip in the railway".

"A tree can influence soil around to 30m then after that we have got a sort of settlement. When a train is passing and applying a dynamic load, the soil can settle easier," Mr Fatahi said.

His model, developed under the umbrella of the Rail Co-operative Research Centre and with partner the University of South Australia, uses the dimensions and absorption rates of roots, the transpiration rates of leaves and climate information to show that water take-up by trees increases the "stiffness" of soil near them, strengthening the soil beneath rail tracks.

"By having these values and using our model now we can predict in one single tree what is the distribution of moisture content. This is absolutely new," Mr Fatahi said.

"The model is an interaction between the atmosphere, the tree and the soil."

The best tree in the Miram area was the blackbox, a type of eucalypt.

The model also had an application for the insurance industry.

The next stage of the project was to try to develop a model that would tell homeowners what distance from a house to plant particular types of tree.

Mr Fatahi's work was a recent winner in Wollongong's Higher Degree Research Student Conference in the category of Frontier Technologies for Building and Transforming Australian Industries.


Source: The Australian

Link:
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19461154-30417,00.html

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  Clyde-GM Chief Commissioner

Location: Remote controlled from Junee.
But how many years after planting would you actually see a postive impact on maintenance cost?
  SM247 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Cavill Avenue Station
True, but how long are the railways going to be there needing constant maintenance? Anything like this that will save money and not compromise quality should at least be pursued, if not implemented.
  The Man in Blue Deputy Commissioner

Location: Trackside in Baiyin NW China!
This study is seriously flawed as it fails to take into account the severe detrimental impact trees growing next to rail lines have on gunzelling photographers! Laughing
  SM247 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Cavill Avenue Station
This study is seriously flawed as it fails to take into account the severe detrimental impact trees growing next to rail lines have on gunzelling photographers!


Without climbing gear.  Smile
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
or a chainsaw......
  Clyde-GM Chief Commissioner

Location: Remote controlled from Junee.
or a chainsaw......
"dthead"
That's the single most important tool for a photographer, when a tree gets in the way, why should you let it wreck your shot when you can cut it down instead?!
  3801nick Train Controller

They should plant something you get good timber from, so once they get going a bit the loggers can go through and get some decent logs from it Twisted Evil
  banko_boy Chief Train Controller

Location: Near Banko
Another thing about trees is that they have leaves and we all know what leaves do to traction...
  Dodge10 Chief Commissioner

or a chainsaw......
"dthead"
That's the single most important tool for a photographer, when a tree gets in the way, why should you let it wreck your shot when you can cut it down instead?!
"Clyde-GM"


Normally when we log  (Forestry) close to rail lines, the section controllers? can't wait to see them on the ground!!
Big trees next to lines are potentially dangerous by throwing limbs and even falling on the line disrupting services and making the gangers get out of bed to remove it  Smile   Those guys are more than happy to see trees removed.  Trees also have an impact on power supplies to signal boxes by dropping the lines and losing power to the box ( most have emergency backup tho)
Dodge10
  Blackadder Chief Commissioner

Location: Not the ECRL
More often that not after a decent wind storm, trees have a strange habit of finding there way on to the Short North.
Do they really need more of the same  Shocked
  doridori Chief Commissioner

another advantage of trees seldomly mentioned is its noise suppresion qualities
smeg loads of shrubs adn treees around lines woudl reduce a LOT of noise
  JatzCrackers Chief Commissioner

Location: Castle Crackers, Lithgovia
Would this botanical scientist and civil engineer outfit have better chance of securing a contract if they pitch their sale in Melbourne? I seem to recall a fair bit of support for this sort of thing down there... Wink
  edison Chief Commissioner

Yeah but look at it this way.  As SM247 said above, the trees will probably outlast the tracks. Then we'll be left with two rows of beautiful mature trees with a rail-trail cycleway between them.
This will be readily visible in Google Earth shots, for people who are tracing "where there used to be a railway". Sorry about the sentimentality.

Edison
  Dodge10 Chief Commissioner

another advantage of trees seldomly mentioned is its noise suppresion qualities
smeg loads of shrubs adn treees around lines woudl reduce a LOT of noise
"doridori"


Granted....good argument, but you can't just plonk any species of shrub/tree in any bit of soil.  In Vic., some low growing mallee-form trees would solve the problem of noise as would Pittosporum or Acacia. Smile
I'm assuming your a Victorian poster?
  doridori Chief Commissioner

another advantage of trees seldomly mentioned is its noise suppresion qualities
smeg loads of shrubs adn treees around lines woudl reduce a LOT of noise
"doridori"


Granted....good argument, but you can't just plonk any species of shrub/tree in any bit of soil.  In Vic., some low growing mallee-form trees would solve the problem of noise as would Pittosporum or Acacia. Smile
I'm assuming your a Victorian poster?
"Dodge10"


an smeg of you and me would be made with that assumption...

just logic and sound reasoning at work mate...

EDIT: cant even label a part of my body without a.s.s being edited to smeg ? sheesh !
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Another thing about trees is that they have leaves and we all know what leaves do to traction...
"banko_boy"


Strictly speaking, it is the wrong kind of leaves.
  mjja Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Mount Waverley, Melbourne
Don't ANYBODY show this thread to Sueglossy!
  Trainboy Chief Commissioner

Location: Toowoomba
In all of this, the benefits should be weighed against the costs.  Will having trees cause more headaches for gangers than they solve?

dthead wrote:  
or a chainsaw......  
That's the single most important tool for a photographer, when a tree gets in the way, why should you let it wreck your shot when you can cut it down instead?!


I was just wondering, why didn't they have that on the 'equipment you take when gunzelling' poll?????
  gregrudd Deputy Commissioner

Location: 521.4 KM from the DFC capital of NSW
This study is seriously flawed as it fails to take into account the severe detrimental impact trees growing next to rail lines have on gunzelling photographers! Laughing
"The Man in Blue"

Not to mention the numbers of that great noxious weed called camphor laurel that grows so well between Strathfield and Lidcombe and the more rabid hybrid varieties that grow beside on the now closed Casino-Murwillumbah line

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