Badger vandalism halts some train services in the Netherlands: NPR

Two badger cubs are seen at the Szeged Game Park in Szeged, south of Budapest, Hungary, on April 12, 2006. Badgers hiding under railway tracks have stopped trains in the Netherlands, forcing the extended cancellation of at least two lines.

Gyoergy Nemeth/MTI via AP, file


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Gyoergy Nemeth/MTI via AP, file


Two badger cubs are seen at the Szeged Game Park in Szeged, south of Budapest, Hungary, on April 12, 2006. Badgers hiding under railway tracks have stopped trains in the Netherlands, forcing the extended cancellation of at least two lines.

Gyoergy Nemeth/MTI via AP, file

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Badgers hiding under railway tracks have stopped trains in the north and south of the Netherlands, forcing the lengthy cancellation of at least two lines.

On Tuesday afternoon all trains stopped on a busy line between the southern towns of Den Bosch and Boxtel after animals dug into the dam that holds the tracks. The national railway company said the line would be out of service for at least a week.

ProRail, which maintains the Dutch rail network, said in a statement that the drilling meant that “the rails can relax and then the safety of train traffic can no longer be guaranteed”.

Earlier this month, badgers also dug under tracks near the northern village of Molkwerum in Friesland province, putting the line out of service until next month while workers seek permission to move the animals.

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Badgers are protected animals in the Netherlands, so railway operators need to get permission to move them or disturb their habitat before repairs can begin.

John Vauben, CEO of ProRail, the company that handles maintenance of Dutch railways, has appealed to speed up the proceedings.

“In the interest of travelers and airlines, more space is needed to be able to take faster action,” he said in a statement. “We are of course in urgent consultations with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management on this matter.”

ProRail says badgers like to dig into the steep sides of the earthen dams that hold many of the Dutch train tracks. This can cause tracks to sag, putting trains at risk.

“Living with a badger can be a real puzzle,” the company said on its website.

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