Why leaves on the line is no joke for Scotland’s railway: Dalgety Bay 04.10 (1)

Monday 8 Oct 2018

Why leaves on the line is no joke for Scotland’s railway

Region & Route:
Scotland

Scotland’s Railway has launched its biggest ever response to the threats caused by autumn leaf fall.

The measures include more leaf busting trains, additional crews as well as an extensive information campaign aimed at customers and staff.

Network Rail in Scotland is running its 7-strong fleet of ‘Leaf busting’ trains around-the-clock to minimise the impact of leaves on the line this autumn.

During autumn, the trees that grow along the railway drop thousands of tonnes of leaves onto the tracks and this debris can cause significant disruption – breaking down into a slippery surface that causes trains to lose their grip on the rails.

This can make trains skid and overshoot signals and platforms – potentially putting customers and staff in danger. The debris can also affect signalling systems, making it hard to track trains on the network.

This autumn, Leaf busting activity includes

A fleet of specialist trains deployed to clear leaf debris and spray lines with a glue-like coating to help train wheels grip the tracks.

Treatment trains covering an average of 2,500 miles a week – running each day from early October until December.

‘Leaf fall’ teams of staff based at key points across the network ready to react quickly to clean specific locations where drivers report poor conditions.

An increased programme to remove lineside vegetation and trees which may pose a danger.

Increased staffing at depots to clean leaf debris from train wheels and undercarriages.

Douglas Clift, Network Rail seasonal delivery specialist said: “Over the next two months we will be running a huge operation to treat tracks and keep trains running on time.

“We have teams on the ground spraying and scrubbing clear the mulch from the leaf fall and rail head treatment trains will work around the clock steam-cleaning the rails and adding adhesives to improve traction.

“We know few things annoy customers more than when their train is delayed because of leaves on the line, but the reality is that leaves can be dangerous and lead to disruption.” 

Notes to Editors

Notes to editors

Network Rail has published a video explaining the issue of leaves on the line and how it is tackled.   It can be viewed here https://t.co/xOK4grGTtb

Contact information

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

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Journalists
Network Rail press office - Owen Campbell
NR Press Office 0141 555 4108 / 07515 617073
Owen.Campbell1@networkrail.co.uk

About Network Rail

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.

Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk