Autumn Leaves


Keeping trains moving during autumn

Seasonal changes can have an impact on rail conditions, sometimes affecting how we run our trains. This autumn, we are working with Network Rail to reduce the impact leaf fall can have on our services, so that we can keep you moving safely.

What’s the issue?

Leaves on the line can cause the same problems for trains as black ice on the road does for cars. When trains pass over leaves, they are compacted and form a smooth, slippery layer on the rails, reducing the grip the trains wheels have on the track. So that we can continue to operate a safe railway our drivers need to brake more gradually, this means that your journey may take longer than usual.

What are we doing about it?

  • The new timetable we introduced in September is designed to mitigate these seasonal issues and minimise any disruption to you.
  • Ensuring that drivers are trained to deal with the effects leaf fall can have on rail track conditions, including through the use of our high-tech simulator.

  • Our trains are stocked up with sand, which the driver can dispense to help improve wheel grip.
  • Network Rail is running its powerful leaf busting trains 24/7, which use water jets to blast the leaf coating from the tracks.

  • Network Rail has also invested £100m in earthworks over the next four years and is increasing the inspection and monitoring of earthworks and drainage. These measures will help to mitigate against seasonal changes such as heavy rainfall.

Working in partnership with Network Rail, we will ensure we get you moving as quickly and as safely as possible this autumn.