Rail line, via Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia to take proactive measures tackling problematic vegetation

Greater Anglia is using CrossTech's Hubble AI technology to reduce delays by spotting potential issues with plants and trees along the railway.

Problem vegetation is a yearly issue for rail operators across the UK as we enter the Autumn months and brace for leaves on the line, where they act as the black ice of the rail sector, compressing into a slippery mulch that can be hazardous for passenger services. Overgrown trees and branches can also inconvenience these journeys as they block the line and can obscure vital signals, leading to delays and disruptions.

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said:

 “Managing vegetation is hugely important to us. If not managed well, trees and fallen leaves can pose a risk to the safe running of the railway and cause delays to trains.

“This new technology helps our teams quickly pinpoint exactly where lineside vegetation is likely to be an issue, so it can be cut back before it causes delays to passenger services.”

This bespoke technology will combat the issue by analysing video recordings taken from the operator’s trains along the main routes between London and Norwich and the whole of the West Anglia Mainline running from London via Cambridge.

Once the issues have been identified, maps will then be generated to highlight the problem areas, prompting Network Rail engineers to take a proactive approach to tackle these nuisances before they escalate and cause delays to services.

Martin Beable, Greater Anglia’s engineering director, said:

 “The footage from our trains and our collaboration with Network Rail and CrossTech is key in giving an early alert to our colleagues at Network Rail so that any problematic areas where trees or other lineside vegetation are about to obscure anything are quickly picked up.

“We are delighted to be able to support Network Rail in adopting this novel technology because it means fewer delays for our trains and the busy routes we run on our network.”

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