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Network Rail’s amazing lengths to keep leaves from lines

PUBLISHED: 17:02 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:02 01 October 2018

Network Rain will combat leaves on the line which can cause delays.

Network Rain will combat leaves on the line which can cause delays.

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Network Rail will train its sights this autumn on combatting leaves which fall on the line and cause delays.

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“Leaf-busting” teams of engineers will carry out daily inspections and clean the tracks by hand where necessary, while five treatment-trains will complete circuits of Anglia’s rail network, cleaning the tracks with high-powered water jets and applying a layer of gel which helps train wheels grip the track.

The Anglia rail network has over 1,426 miles of track, much of which is surrounded by trees and vegetation. Leaves cause problems on the network when they stick to damp rails and passing trains compress them into a smooth, slippery layer, reducing wheel grip, much like black ice on roads.

The company is also fitting an anti-slip protection to the wheels of its class 156 trains, which operate on rural services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “Autumn is a very real problem for the railway industry and our teams of engineers will be working around the clock across the region to keep the tracks clear and keep people on the move. Our teams will be monitoring leaf-fall as always in order to tackle high risk areas before they become a problem for trains.”

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