Monday 2 Oct 2017
ScotRail Alliance invests millions to keep people moving during autumn
The ScotRail Alliance will invest millions of pounds to keep people moving during autumn, as it undertakes a major push to deal with the very real safety risks caused by leaves on the line.
With much of Scotland's railway lined by trees, a common cause of disruption during autumn is leaves falling on the line. A build-up of leaves results in a slippery layer forming on the tracks.
This can be dangerous causing trains to skid and overshoot signals and platforms, potentially putting passengers and staff in danger.
As a result, drivers must accelerate and brake gently. This causes services to go slower than normal and can result in disruption to customers.
Leaf debris can also interfere with the signalling systems, making it difficult to track trains on the network.
Led by Network Rail, from the middle of October the autumn campaign will include:
- £2.6million invested in clearing the tracks.
- 11 leaf fall teams, totalling 30 staff based in Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Tayside, the Borders and Fife.
- A fleet of seven specialist trains designed to clear leaf debris and spray lines with a glue-like coating to help train wheels grip the tracks.
- Up to 7,200 staff hours dedicated to clearing the line.
- Treatment trains covering an average of 1,500 miles a day.
- A green/amber/red warning system on Twitter each day, advising customers of any expected disruptions caused by the weather.
David Dickson, infrastructure director ScotRail Alliance, said: "We are working hard to build the best railway Scotland has ever had, and part of that is keeping people moving during the autumn when the weather can create major safety risks.
"We know few things annoy customers more than when their train is delayed because of leaves on the line. People are always a bit sceptical, but the reality is that leaves on the line can be dangerous and lead to disruption.
"The ScotRail Alliance is investing millions of pounds and pulling out all the stops to tackle this problem over the coming months."
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.