colas rail


RSS Infrastructure (RSSI) have been undertaking vegetation management work for Colas for around 2 years, delivering on a number of projects that involved working on the rail infrastructure and interfacing directly with members of the public.


The RSSI Arb operatives all had knowledge and experience in conforming with Network Rail’s 7 metre
vegetation clearance standard, resulting in a diverse range of competencies needed to complete the works. Due to the nature of the works, RSSI Arb office based teams needed to have extensive Arboriculture
experience and those involved in field work needed to hold a diverse range of competencies ranging from low level land-based tickets, such as brush cutter and hedge trimmer, to Level 3 award in aerial tree rigging and severing uprooted or windblown trees using a chainsaw. The entire RSSI Arb workforce also undergo a
stringent reference process to ensure that all of their qualifications/competencies are valid and in date.


To meet the requirements for successful delivery of the project, RSSI invested significantly in a wide array of specialised forestry equipment including; chippers from road tows for highway work through to tracked whole tree chippers and excavators for larger site clearance work. The company also acquired a number of off-road vehicles including Unimog equipped with chip and remove facility as well as technical rigging equipment and winches. All of the equipment undergoes rigorous compliance checks to ensure that it complies with the LOLER and PUWER regulations. All check sheets are updated on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and copies are held by both field operatives and with office personnel.



RSS Infrastructure (RSSI) have established a reputation within the Arboriculture sector for providing highly skilled personnel who can deliver an extensive portfolio of vegetation services throughout the Midlands East/West and across the UK Rail Infrastructure.

The Arboriculture department was approached by the Midland Metro Alliance to clear 11km of dense and overgrown vegetation, as part of their 10-year project to transform the West Midlands integrated transport system.


The RSSI Arb teams began by scoping the worksite and identified that in order to dismantle a number of large trees located on high embankments a technical tree rigging technique would need to be used and due to the location of the trees RSSI personnel would be required to interface directly with 3rd party land owners.

In order to ensure positive stakeholder relations within the local community, the company conducted a postal campaign before the commencement of the works to inform those affected of the pending works and noise levels. During the company induction each member of the workforce was educated on the organisation’s ethos and the appropriate manner in which to interact with members of the public. RSSI also deployed a dedicated Stakeholder Liaison Officer who was tasked with engaging with those in the local community that were affected by the works and ensure any concerns were mitigated and resolved.

To meet the clients strict schedule, an E20 excavator with a timber grab was used to feed the ‘Bandit’ whole tree clipper. This led to a significant reduction in the number of days that the workforce was required to be onsite in this particular area.


Due to the extensive technical knowledge of the company’s Arborist teams, they were able to conduct side pruning and crown lifting on large mature Oax and Maple trees using aerial climbing and rigging techniques to achieve sighting and clearance, as required by the OS3998 standard.

LNW – Wembley North


RSS Infrastructure (RSSI), a subsidiary of Auctus Management Group Ltd, have been working alongside Colas Rail to help improve productivity and safety for their workforce at their site in Wembley North.

Members from the Track Access team conducted an initial survey to scope the entirety of the works required and found that currently the site only had one point of access as well as limited room for storage access and welfare facilities. Furthermore, the RSSI Arboriculture (Arb) teams identified that the site walking route was hazardous and inaccessible to personnel due to the uneven terrain that could cause tripping injuries.


The Arboriculture site survey identified that the project would consist of three key phases namely; removal of vegetation, stump removal and herbicide treatment.

The Arb team began by setting up an exclusion zone around the immediate work area and conducted a
thorough assessment of the area using a CAT scanner to identify any S&C cables.

In order for the RSSI Track Access team to lay the foundations for the foot path, Arb personnel needed to firstly remove approximately 1km of thick vegetation and trees that needed to be felled and removed to enable access. All arisings were also chipped and removed from site.

The next phase was to eradicate all tripping hazards caused by residual stumps and vegetation. The team used Stump Grinders to take each stump down to ground-level where there was sufficient safe access to do so. In areas that had limited clearance, Arb personnel were required to manually remove each stump. The final phase was to then treat the entire area with Herbicide to control regrowth.

Working alongside the client, Track Access division began by installing 450 metres of rubber zap mats in order to create a safe authorised walking route. The RSSI team then fitted a single pedestrian access gate at both the North and South hard standings.

In order to improve working conditions a welfare facility was constructed at each hard standing. These
welfare facilities gave Colas the capability to further enhance their own efficiency and safety through the creation of an observation tower that sat on top of the welfare building.

From the initial project survey, the RSSI Track Access planning team identified that there was another
potential hazard stemming from the electrified cables as well as workers straying from the authorised
walking route. To prevent the likelihood of any accident or incident occurring, RSS teams implemented 450 metres of ‘Plastic Thermos Barriers’ whose non-conductive material makes it ideal for areas that contain electrification and also acts as a barrier to keep personnel on the right track.

To increase both safety and productivity, four Strail Road Rail Access Points (RRAPS) were installed to improve access for rail road access vehicles. Three RRAPS were installed north of the worksite, enabling machinery to gain access to the works and crossover safely.

Benefit to the client

Through the introduction of welfare facilities Colas were able to improve their workforce productivity as they were no longer required to commute long distances. These facilities provided senior Colas personnel with an opportunity to increase visibility and improve safety and productivity through the additional observation tower that was constructed by the client.

Furthermore, through the efforts employed by the RSSI Arb team, who complete the vegetation and stump removal in two weeks, the RSSI Track Access team was able to install an authorised walking route, RRAPS, access gate and the Thermos barrier enabling the workforce at Wembley North to reduce deployment times for machinery and personnel through increased levels of safe access.

Jamie Gibbons, Site Manager for S&C South Alliance, said: “The de-vegetation works that the RSSI team undertook was to a very high standard, the site looks 100% better and everybody was really happy with the service the company provided.”

The project was delivered in accordance with the clients work schedule and also came in on budget.

COLAS RAIL – BARNETBY Vegetation Removal


RSS INFRASTRUCTURE (RSS) Limited, a subsidiary of Auctus Management Group Ltd, have been working alongside Colas Rail in order to remove various different types of vegetation species located on the Barnetby line.

The company undertook a pre-site visit in order to identify the scope of the works and identify potential hazards before deploying a dedicated clearance team.


The contract began on the 19th September 2016 along the 4 number roads Siding’s which is adjacent to the MAC3 at 94m20ch and took around four days to complete. The team consisted of a Controller of Site Safety and Ground Operatives who removed the vegetation along the downside, which consisted mainly of Buddleia, Rowan Saplins and various other weed types. A defoliate was put in place to reduce future impact on the line and provide a hazard-free environment from which to operate allowing Colas Rail maintenance teams to begin work onsite.



Upon completion of the project RSS personnel worked to ensure that the worksite was cleared of all debris, tools, plant, equipment and all protection equipment. Moreover, a site inspection was carried out by the Works Supervisor to ensure that all potential hazards were removed as well as confirming that the site was in good order.