Latest Rail News

03.10.18

Leaf-busting trains launched to prepare railways for autumn

Network Rail is rolling out its fleet of 61 Railhead Treatment Trains (RHTT) and Multi-Purpose Vehicles (MPV), amongst other measures, to combat leaves on railway tracks this autumn.

Despite opposition from environmental groups, Network Rail made plans for tree felling to prevent leaves falling on lines, which can cause serious problems and delays across the rail network when they stick to damp rails.

Network Rail south east’s managing director John Halsall said: “Would you ask someone to accelerate over black ice on the roads? Leaves on the line pose the same danger on the railway, so we can’t risk the safety of passengers by driving trains at full speed when conditions are bad.”

Leaves can also interfere with signalling systems by interrupting the connection between wheel and track.

Network Rail’s leaf-busting trains will aim to scour the rail network by spraying a high-pressure water jet to remove leaves from the line, before laying down adhesion modifier gel to help add traction.

Teams are on call 24/7 to manually scrub railway lines where needed, and some vegetation has been removed and replaced by greenery less likely to shed leaves.

Andy Thomas, Network Rail’s managing director, strategic operations, said: “Every autumn, even with the best preparation, leaves fall onto the line, which can cause the same conditions as black ice on the roads.

“With millions of trees growing alongside the railway, it’s something the rail industry takes seriously. That’s why our ‘leaf-busting’ trains and front-line teams are out there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to make sure we can get passengers from A to B safely and reliably.”

 

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