Much of the rail infrastructure, such as stations, embankments and woodland, is home to a wide variety of different animal species.
However, our dense network damages and dissects the habitats of these creatures. This leads to populations being isolated and to a fall in animal numbers. SBB is currently doing much to improve and network habitats so that threatened species return and populations can intermingle.
SBB's 3,000 kilometre-long rail network dissects the habitats of many animal species. It is endeavouring to restore uninterrupted corridors along which animals can migrate, and minimise the disadvantages of dissected habitats. For example, the "Suret" wildlife corridor – a migration route of national importance – is being extended to make it more wildlife-friendly. SBB is widening two underpasses beneath the Aarau-Rupperswil line and equipping them with guiding structures for migrating animals to follow.
But railway land itself acts as a habitat for many smaller animals. River flood plains with their areas of sand and gravel, steep river embankments and piles of driftwood are a rarity these days. Some railway land has similar features to these areas and has therefore become a replacement habitat for many species – for example between Zurich Hauptbahnhof and Zurich-Altstetten, where rare species such as wall lizards, blue-winged grasshoppers and many varieties of wild bees find refuge. SBB has won an award from the Swiss Foundation for Nature and the Economy for upgrading this natural area.
Wildlife warning system.
Deer are frequently killed on a 1.5 kilometre stretch of the Gotthard line above Erstfeld. Every collision involving animals causes damage and disruption. Several black warning units are now installed to alert animals of approaching trains in good time with a sound that is inaudible to humans – a win-win situation for man and animals alike.