The Kippencoupé: ecological connector in the Duits Lijntje

In 2018, the Brood en Spelen competition asked designers and landowners for their ideas on what the future of the sandy land in the province of Noord-Brabant between Boxtel and Veghel might look like. The vision for the 'Kippencoupé' (chicken wagon) breathes new life into the historic 'Duits Lijntje' railway line, strengthening ecological, cultural-historical and recreational connections. 

The jury praised the fun idea that makes smart use of existing resources and gave the project an honourable mention.

The initiator of the competition, the Board of Government Advisors, wants to gather radical, realistic and feasible concepts which provide a new approach to the future development of our countryside in the sandy areas of the Netherlands.

Working with the owner of Fladder Farm poultry farm and the owner of Liempde station, a concept was developed which involved chickens helping to maintain the overgrown railway line. Chickens are taken to where the food is and forage in a natural environment. Not only is this better for animal welfare, it also limits the maintenance costs of the railway.

Every two weeks, the wagon moves to the next stop on the Duits Lijntje track, driven by self-generated electricity.  A cycle path will be built alongside the railway so that people can explore the area and visit the Kippencoupé and perhaps buy fresh eggs on the way.

The Kippencoupé concept provides some interesting insights:

- Maintenance costs of unused railways can be limited by chickens: the chickens scrape and forage in the ground and thus maintain the nature. This also strengthens the Duits Lijntje as an ecological connector.

- The countryside and town dwellers are brought together. Along the railway, there will be space for a slow traffic route into the countryside for residents and visitors. The distances are easily covered by e-bikes, with Liempde being the charging station and central starting point in the middle of the three cities of 's-Hertogenbosch, Tilburg and Eindhoven.

- Passers-by can enjoy watching the foraging chickens and buy fresh eggs, while the railway forms a natural connection between the various nature areas in the Groene Woud.

Brood en Spelen is an initiative of the Board of Government Advisors (Chief Government Architect Floris Alkemade and Government Advisor for Landscape Berno Strootman). This is a regular competition for a societal problem for which designers can submit an idea.

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