Scotland’s Railway is ready for autumn: Autumn treatment train

Thursday 1 Oct 2020

Scotland’s Railway is ready for autumn

Region & Route:
Scotland’s Railway: Scotland

Our teams across Scotland will be working hard over the next three months to keep tracks clear of leaves and debris and keep our customers moving this autumn.

Every autumn, trees drop thousands of tonnes of leaves onto our infrastructure and these can break down into a slippery surface that can cause train wheels to lose grip – making it harder for them to stop quickly.

This can cause trains to overshoot signals or platforms and affect signalling systems – making it harder to track where trains are on the network.

From now until mid-December, teams from across Scotland’s Railway will be working around-the-clock investing millions of pounds to keep passengers moving.

In depots, we’ll have additional staff cleaning trains’ wheels, while out on the line our leaf-busting teams will be deployed to clear debris direct from the rails.

Our fleet of specialist rail-head treatment trains will also be in operation throughout autumn, cleaning tracks and coating them with a special adhesive to help trains keep their grip.

Last year, our autumn treatment trains covered more than 70,000 miles of track all across Scotland’s Railway.

This autumn, we are making even greater use of new technology like cryogenics where dry ice pellets are fired onto the rails causing leaf mulch to crack and break away leaving a clean, dry surface.

Specialist weather reports will also be used to help pinpoint how the weather will affect leaf-fall throughout the season – allowing us to target our resources where they’re most needed.

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: “Last year, we delivered the best autumn performance on record, reducing leaf-fall related delays and improving train punctuality for our customers.

“Leaves on the line can pose a real danger to the safe operation of the railway – affecting a train’s wheels in a similar way to how black ice affects your car – and our teams will be working around-the-clock to make sure we keep passengers moving safely this autumn.”

David Simpson, ScotRail operations director, said: “We are again working very closely with our Network Rail colleagues to keep people moving. Our teams will work through the night to keep train wheels clean and help minimise the impact of the autumn weather.

“The performance of our services has been steadily improving and our staff will be working flat out to improve that further and deliver another strong autumn performance for our customers.”

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Nick King
Media relations manager (Scotland)
0141 555 4108 / 07515 617073

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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