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Preparation for Autumn

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Autumn leaf fall is difficult for the railway, and we know it’s a source of frustration for our customers, too.

The residue from fallen leaves covers the track with a hard, slippery coating, which makes acceleration a problem in some areas. Trains then have to run at lower speeds, sometimes leading to delays and cancellations.

This year, we’ve stepped up our partnership with Network Rail and introducing a series of initiatives, have made even more effort to keep disruption to a minimum.

Some of the things we do include:

  • Using sophisticated technology, we have improved how we measure the slipperiness of rails so that we can treat them more effectively
  • Localised weather forecasts are enabling us to work out the volume of leaf fall and plan accordingly
  • A programme of leaf-clearing sessions has been organised in areas where we know leaf fall is heavy
  • Special trains are running throughout the network to jet-wash and clean the rails
  • Our drivers are very skilled and are adapting the way they drive to suit the conditions of this challenging period

We will work continually throughout the autumn, along with Network Rail, to ensure any delays to our services are kept to a minimum.

For further information on our service disruption terminology click here.