The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Planning and Environmental Impact Design: from EIA to EID
Chapter: Chapter 10 Sustainable green transport


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Railways require environmental impact design

In Britain, all types of railway line are subject to safety precautions which require their separation from pedestrians by fences, walls, bridges and level crossings. This applies even to miniature railways in parks and garden festivals. The regulations date from an era when steam trains dropped lumps of coal, emitted sparks and were little understood by the public. Railway authorities seem never to have forgotten that a former President of the Board of Trade, no less, was killed at the opening of the world's first steam railway service in 1830. Safety regulations should be retained for highspeed interï¾­city trains, but greatly relaxed for slow commuter trains which are more predictable, and therefore safer, than buses. A slow-speed train has a pattern of side effects which resembles that of a tram. This permits an intimate relationship with the urban landscape, with slow 'trains' operating like trams. Special slow-speed loops should be added to high-speed lines, to allow for frequent stopping without the impedimenta of a railway station.