Greater Anglia and Network Rail unveil package of measures to cut disruption from fallen leaves on the line

A Greater Anglia train

A Greater Anglia train - Credit: James Bass

It might seem insignificant - but it is a problem which has cost rail passengers hours in delays.

The new landrover which will clear leaves from train tracks. Picture: Greater Anglia

The new landrover which will clear leaves from train tracks. Picture: Greater Anglia - Credit: Archant

Rail operators say that falling leaves can make train tracks as slippery as black ice and can cause electrical circuits to fail.

As autumn gets underway, Greater Anglia and Network Rail have announced a package of measures to cut down on disruption this year.

It includes new cleaning equipment, six specialist track-cleaning trains and a specially adapted Land Rover to access hard-to-reach areas.

Greater Anglia has also invested in a mobile wheel lathe as its Norwich Crown Depot, which will fix train wheels damaged by slippery rails, without them having to be sent away.

Richard Schofield, Network Rail's route managing director for Anglia, said: 'We have been working together with Greater Anglia on a package of works that aims to keep train services running as smoothly as possible this autumn and winter. We understand the inconvenience caused when problems occur, and our engineers will be doing everything they can to keep passengers moving.'

Certain timetables will be altered to ease disruption, while a programme of vegetation removal is planned.

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London trains will depart five minutes early to keep to schedule, a new monitoring system will report when and where trains slip and work will be undertaken with landowners to remove trees as problem area Brundall Gardens.

From Monday, October 17, Salhouse, Brundall Gardens and Roughton Road, on the Bittern Line between Norwich and Sheringham, will also temporarily become 'request stop only' to keep to times.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia's managing director, said: 'We are acutely aware of the frustration and inconvenience felt by our passengers when things go wrong, so we are pleased to be taking action in partnership with Network Rail, making additional preparations to protect train services during what is traditionally a difficult period on the railway.

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