Track and signalling

08.10.19

Jet-washing trains begin work in Kent and Sussex to remove leaves on the line

Network Rail have deployed jet-washing trains onto the lines in Kent and Sussex, where they will be travelling the equivalent of four times round the Earth in order to clean the railway.

Thousands of tonnes of leaves are dropped onto the tracks every autumn as a result of the millions of trees that grow next to the tracks.

The heat and weight of the trains bake the leaves into a thin, slippery layer as the trains pass over.

The effect has been compared to the equivalent of ‘black ice’ on the rails, raising a safety concern for passengers.

Throughout the autumn and winter, Network Rail teams will be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to clear the tracks and improve the issue making them safer for passengers.

Operational signalling systems are also affected by the autumn leaves falling as friction and grip is compromised making it harder to start, stop, accelerate and climb for the rolling stock.

The leaves create a barrier between the train wheels and the electrical elements of the track, making it harder for signallers to keep track of the train’s location.

To tackle the issue, and ensure the smooth, safe running of trains, engineers and contractors maintain, repair and improve the rail infrastructure around the clock, whatever the weather.

Train drivers will receive refresher training using simulators to help improve their skills in coping with slippery conditions and are also instructed to brake earlier when approaching stations to pre-empt a delayed stopping distance and take more care accelerating to avoid a wheel spin effect.

The track treatment machines and vehicles will carry and deliver nearly 100,000 litres of water per circuit and water-jet the track with a pressure of 1500mb which is enough to cut through metal.

Some trains will even have equipment that applies ultra-fine dried sand onto the rail in front of the wheels which improves grip when braking or accelerating.

Rob Davis, delivery director, Network Rail said:

“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.”

Autumn timetables will be introduced which allow for extra journey times and help reduce the impact of leaf fall issues, longer hours of darkness and adverse weather to ensure trains run to time

This initiative aims to solve this problem before the leaves even hit the rails by working through the year to minimise the impact of falling leaves.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Alstom set to purchase Bombardier Transportation

18/09/2020Alstom set to purchase Bombardier Transportation

Alstom’s move to takeover Bombardier Transportation has progressed following the announcement that Alstom has signed the sale and purchase ... more >
Flood-damaged Edinburgh-Glasgow line to reopen

18/09/2020Flood-damaged Edinburgh-Glasgow line to reopen

The Edinburgh-Glasgow, via Falkirk High, railway line will reopen for passengers on Monday (21st Sept.) Network Rail engineers have worked t... more >
East Coast Main Line: £216.2m contract to increase power supply

18/09/2020East Coast Main Line: £216.2m contract to increase power supply

Following a £216.2m contract awarded by the Rail Electrification Alliance, The East Coast Main Line Power Supply Upgrade can move forward i... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s network of independent repair facilities across the UK and further afield in its global network. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >