Badgers put Dutch rail operators in a burrow causing cancellations

Badgers are a protected species in the Netherlands. Photo credit: Trond Sætre Stegarud / Wikimedia Commons

IN THE Netherlands, one small furry mammal has been causing big problems for the country’s rail network. Badgers, a protected species in the country, have been digging burrows beneath railway tracks, leading to cancellations and line closures.

Trains in both the north and south of the country have been affected, with some services being halted for at least a week from Tuesday, March 21. The latest closure occurred on the line between Den Bosch and Boxtel.

It was the second time in a week that services had been stopped because of badger activity, according to John Voppen, CEO of ProRail, the company that maintains the Dutch rail network. He explained that the problem could take a significant amount of time to deal with as train operators needed to seek permission to move the animals or disturb their habitats.

The Den Bosch-Boxtel-Eindhoven route is a crucial connection linking the north and south of the country, and passenger and freight trains have both been affected on the route.

Earlier in March, in the north, badgers burrowed below tracks near Molkwerum in the northerly Friesland region, causing services on one line to be suspended until April.