Rail News

Leaf Busting Trains to Keep Passengers Moving Through Autumn

Last week marked the start of Network Rail’s high powered leaf busting trains rolling out across the South Western Railway route – they will travel the equivalent of twice round the world over the next three months clearing leaves and debris.

The trains are part of Network Rail’s £4.5 million investment in the region to keep our tracks clear and our passengers moving through autumn.

Leaf Busting Trains
Leaf Busting Train © Network Rail

Leaf Busting Trains

From Waterloo to Weymouth, high pressured water jets mounted on the undercarriage of specially designed trains will clear debris and coat the rail in a unique sand-based gel. This means trains can better grip the tracks, reducing delays and improving safety.

Related Post:  UK: Preferred Bidders for Network Rail Contracts Announced

With up to 70,0001 mature trees along our route, shedding around 210 million1 leaves over autumn, the leaf busting trains are in use 24 hours a day for three months.

Becky Lumlock, route managing director at Network Rail, said:

“We invest £4.5 million across the South Western Railway route to keep our tracks clear and our passengers moving over autumn.

“Leaves and foliage on the line can cause the same conditions as black ice on the roads, and with thousands of mature trees on our route, it’s something we take seriously.

“That’s why our leaf busting, and our teams of track side workers, are out there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to make sure our tracks are safe and free from debris.”

Keeping Passengers Moving

As part of our approach over autumn Network Rail also receives ‘adhesion forecasts’ from a specialist weather forecaster. This tells us where leaves are most likely to stick to the rails. Our world-leading intelligent infrastructure also monitors levels of electric current running through the track, which leaves and foliage can affect. All this means lineside staff can take targeted, prompt action to avoid delays to passengers.

Related Post:  The CP6 Launch Event in Liverpool Proves a Big Success

Train drivers also receive refresher training in September using simulators to help them improve the skills needed to deal with ‘slippery’ rails.

Andy Mellors, Managing Director for South Western Railway, said:

“We work extremely hard alongside our industry partners at Network Rail to help reduce delays caused by autumn conditions, in particular leaf-fall.

“That’s why we introduced minor adjustments to our timetable during autumn last week to take in to consideration these added seasonal challenges.

“Our drivers also adopt special driving techniques to make sure journeys are as safe and punctual as possible.”

Original article © Network Rail.


News categories

    22 Mar 2019
    The CP6 Launch Event in Liverpool Proves a Big Success
    14 Mar 2019
    Network Rail CP6 Contracts for Central England Announced
    04 Feb 2019
    11 Must-Read Rail News Stories – Industry Insider for Week 5
    01 Feb 2019
    UK: Preferred Bidders for Network Rail Contracts Announced
    03 Dec 2018
    12 Must-Read Rail News Stories for Week 48
    29 Nov 2018
    Scotland: First Successful Electric Train Test Run on Stirling-Alloa Line
    27 Nov 2018
    UK: New Faster Safer Isolations Technology to Save Time and Improve Worker Safety
    26 Oct 2018
    Tram Train Enters Service Between Sheffield and Rotherham in a UK First
    Subscribe to Railway-News
    Get the latest contract alerts and Railway News emailed directly to your inbox.

    We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously.

    Please tick to confirm you would like to receive emails we think may be of interest to you. We sometimes tailor the content you see to what we think you'll find interesting, and so monitor your interaction with our website and email content (find out more).