Tuesday 17 Oct 2017
Lucky escape for ‘Tony the Tawny’ rescued from the railway after Storm Ophelia
- London North Western
An owl which broke its wing when it was trapped under a tree felled by Storm Ophelia has been rescued by Network Rail.
The orange army was carrying out post storm inspections at Styal, near Manchester Airport, on Tuesday morning when the injured bird was spotted.
Quick-thinking staff wrapped the owl, named Tony the Tawny during the rescue, in one of Network Rail’s famous orange jackets before calling the RSPB and taking it to a depot in Manchester.
A quick RSPB health check revealed Tony the Tawny had a broken wing, an injured leg and was showing signs of an electric shock from the railway’s 25,000v overhead power lines which were hit as the tree fell.
Joseph Spiteri-Braysford, part of the Network Rail team which found Tony the Tawny, said: “We couldn’t believe our eyes when we spotted the owl under a tree blown onto the railway during Storm Ophelia. It was trapped amongst the branches which had been pulled clear of the tracks the night before.
“The tree damaged the power lines as it fell - which explains the owl’s suspected electric shock. While our feathered friend was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the tree came down, he was lucky we came back as he would have undoubtedly died if we hadn’t rescued him.”
Staff at Network Rail’s Guide Bridge depot, in Audenshawe, Manchester, are eagerly waiting for an update on Tony the Tawny’s condition. It’s hoped the owl will make a full recovery.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.