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Preserving our natural environment

Protecting nature and the environment is highly valued in Germany. As it is at Deutsche Bahn, which is confronted with nature conservation issues in its day-to-day operations and when upgrading lines and building new ones.


In many cases, nature and rail travel exist side by side – ideally they coexist – without any problems. When conflicts do occur, Deutsche Bahn looks for ecologically and economically responsible solutions.

When DB builds new lines or upgrades old ones, it takes nature conservation into account right from the beginning of the planning process. In this way, it avoids interfering with or even destroying natural habitats. When this is just not possible, Deutsche Bahn creates an acceptable alternative or replacement. Important habitats for animals such as rare birds, bats and lizards are preserved or newly created.

Protection of birds at overhead lines


In order to protect birds from electrical shocks, new overhead lines are built in birdproof ways. The DB Netz AG equips existing lines with so-called “Animal Guards” preventing animals sitting the isolators. These voluntary and additional safety measures are not only an important step towards more bird and animal protection, but also reduce the maintenance and reparation costs, resulting from short circuits.

DB areas for nature preservation


DB has planned to identify and to transfer areas which are no longer needed for rail service to associations and foundations for nature preservations. A correspondent agreement was signed in 2014 by the DB and representatives of the four associations BUND, NABU, VCD and DUH.

A sophisticated planning system


DB pays particular attention to treating protected areas with special care. To keep track of where and how nature and rail intersect, DB uses a geoinfor-mation system (GIS), which contains all railroad lines and all of Germany's protected areas available in a digital form. The GIS gives all DB employees a detailed overview of ecologically sensitive areas at the click of a mouse.

All clear for safe rail operations


To ensure safe transportation, and thus our passengers’ safety, DB needs not only to service its trains but also to perform maintenance on its tracks and infrastructure. Maintenance includes removing plants on a regular basis to keep them from affecting the ballast substructure or obstructing the view of signals. gernerally, the slopes of embakments are cleared mechanically. In the track bed specifically aprroved herbicides must be apllied for lack of alternative options.