Skip to content

Birds cause serious delays on rail network

The loss of natural habitats has long been causing major issues for our native wildlife. Extensive developments in urban and suburban areas have robbed wildlife of its natural homes and this country boasts fewer bodies of water than ever. The loss of habitats has inevitably resulted in birds finding it difficult to seek out somewhere to land and this can lead to mistakes.

Swans staying on track

There have been an increasing number of incidents involving swans landing on railway lines. It is believed that the birds are mistaking the tracks for rivers. This situation is extremely unfortunate for the birds and less than ideal for commuters who are hoping to get to work on time.

A between Hove and Worthing in East Sussex. It then refused to budge from the line, probably because it was scared. lines were blocked for at least 45 minutes and the knock-on effects were huge. Passengers suffered both long delays and cancellations as the railway was thrown into chaos by a single stray bird.

New training programme for rail engineers

Problems with swans have become so common that is now to deal with the birds. The swans probably make a change from the wrong kind of leaves on the lines, but the results are the same!

Network Rail’s emergency response teams are receiving special training with the expectation that this will result in incidents being dealt with quickly while still protecting the birds. The engineers are being taught how to pick up the swans without hurting themselves or the animals. Training is taking place at the famous in Shepperton, a small town on the Thames.

Swans attract a crowd

Hopefully, Network Rail’s initiative will both help the birds and prevent serious delays to commuters such as those caused by a family of swans in Norfolk this year. The birds held up a train for 30 minutes at a level crossing near . They were apparently untroubled by their predicament. The swans initially forced the train to slow down to a snail’s pace as they strolled along the line.

People, including the train driver, tried to shoo the swans away but they were reluctant to move and remained standing in front of the train which had been forced to stop. The driver used a large umbrella to shoo the birds, but the two adults and two cygnets seemed quite happy to hang around. The passengers on the train weren’t quite so happy!

The train driver eventually returned to his cab and drove the train slowly towards the birds, encouraging them to make their way down the track until they reached a crowd of onlookers. The crowd helped to scare the birds off the track and they were then rescued by the .

If you aren’t in a rush, a few swans on the track might seem like a bit of a laugh. But the situation is far from amusing for the birds, or the thousands of travellers who are left stranded. It is also sad to reflect on the reasons why swans are landing in our railways in the first place.


We are very sorry, but the browser you are visting us with is outdated and not complient with our website security.

Please upgrade your browser to a modern secure version to view our website.