Back in the 1960’s in the UK we had the beeching report, and thousands of miles of rail routes were taken out of use, in the time since many of these lines have been turned into footpaths and bridleways. In these places you can admire the beauty and skill of the men who designed and built the structures and area of the rail system.
At the same time you can admire the beauty and tenacity of the wildlife that has made these places there home.
However in my patch there are no closed line, instead we have an active line that splits the town in two.
I cannot walk this line, but I can stand on a road bridge that looks over the line. As I stand on this bridge I have open fields and countryside to my rear, and the town with all it brings in front of me, the line creates a route for wildlife to move in relative safety, connecting land either side of the town, and green spaces in town.
It is a good place to stand and watch birds butterflies and even dragonflies pass along. Plants have done this since the line was built, with seeds being dragged along by wind drag off the trains.
Off the bridge I am looking into a woodland cutting, as I look at the birds I can see, and try to hear those I cannot, I catch sight of a small brown/red dog, just sitting by the rail, a dangerous place to be, with trains traveling at 70mph.
Then from nowhere, I see four smaller brown/red dogs play fighting, two jump on one and make it cry out, with the fourth jumping too late, landing heavy on the rail.
Of course these Brown/red dogs with pointy ears white bibs, black noses, and bushy tails are foxes. As I stand watching these animals play, I can see a train approaching, the animals seem to have no idea of this danger.
The train passes by where the foxes our playing and blinds the animals from my view. My gut sinks, as it looks like if not all some of these animals didn’t make it.
A few seconds after the train passes, mum steps out and sits on the track, a few seconds after that four little brown/red dogs are play fighting as if nothing happened, but this is there daily life and they know the dangers, for them our dangers have made them safe(ish).