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’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

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