Northern continues combatting Leaf fall with GPS Tracking technology

Northern continues combatting Leaf fall with GPS Tracking technology

Northern Trains has successfully implemented a new GPS tracking system to identify and address leaf fall hotspots, making autumn travel safer and more reliable. Fallen leaves can pose significant challenges for train operators, as they adhere to damp rails and form a smooth, slippery layer when compressed by passing trains, reducing grip and potentially causing delays.

To mitigate these autumnal hazards, Northern has equipped its CAF fleet with cutting-edge technology that monitors the train's movements, pinpointing areas where drivers may encounter tricky conditions.

Image of GPS tracking through Guiseley

This system tracks any small slips or slides, mapping them for further analysis and communication to drivers and Network Rail for track cleaning.

"Slippery rails are a major concern for the rail industry, and we are taking proactive steps to address this issue," stated Rob Cummings, seasonal performance manager at Northern. "This is just one of the many innovative strategies Northern is employing to combat autumn conditions and ensure our customers reach their destinations on time, even when weather conditions are challenging."

Northern is also trialing 'rail head treatment technology,' which is attached to the undercarriage of passenger trains and has the potential to save the rail industry millions of pounds annually.

Water-Trak can be fitted to existing passenger services, which means that it can be used to clean a wider range of lines.                     

Five Northern trains fitted with Water-Trak are operating currently with Water-Trak on routes between Liverpool, Wigan and Manchester as well as between Leeds, Harrogate and York. The trials are being run thanks to funding from Network Rail's Performance Innovation Fund.

Speaking on Water-Trak at the time, Cummings said: "We're pleased to be working with Water-Trak to try and provide a better, more reliable service in tricky autumn conditions. This is the next stage of this trial that we hope will take us closer to our goal."

Photo Credit: Northern

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