WEED CONTROL: European infrastructure managers were shown the capabilities of Weedfree's newly-commissioned weed killing train during demonstration runs held in Belgium during June.

Developed in Hungary by Gaal-Gaal, the train's computer systems locate weeds using infra-red cameras corresponding to each of the nine spray booms. GPS is used to map areas of weed growth into a database, and then co-ordinate pre-programmed treatment from banks of spray nozzles.

Fine control of the spraying process minimises the use of herbicide, and enables spot treatment rather than blanket spraying. As well as reducing waste, this helps to address environmental concerns surrounding the use of chemicals.

The nozzles can be tilted and directionally controlled to match the topography of the target area, a feature which Weedfree says is especially useful for the treatment of embankments and cuttings. The spray pressure and application rates is automatically regulated to allow for running speeds, and the vehicle can operate at up to 60 km/h to minimise disruption to revenue trains. It has onboard kitchen, washing and sleeping areas to enable round the clock operation if desired.

Following use in Belgium, Weedfree will be taking the train for trials with Danish infrastructure manager Banedanmark.