Industry News North West Premier Construction Premier Rail Scotland

What’s The Link Between An Egg In A Frying Pan, Black Ice, And ‘Leaves On The Line’?

Thirsk railway station set for car park investment worth £300,000
Written by Amy

From Monday 23 October 2017, train company TransPennine Express (TPE) will be changing the times of a small number of services as part of its autumn train plan, to make sure customers are kept moving.

During autumn, fallen leaves can make driving trains very challenging. Leaves are pressed onto the tracks, creating a Teflon-like coating which causes the lines to become slippery in a similar way to black ice on the road, or eggs in a frying pan!

These problems affect all types of trains and sometimes slow the whole network down, even if our own services are coping well with the conditions. TPE’s modern trains are fitted with devices that spray sand onto the tracks to increase their grip, however sometimes they still have to run at lower speeds, which can lead to delays and cancellations.

The temporary plan will mean there are changes to some train times on the North TransPennine route, especially for those customers travelling from Hull in the early morning.

Last year was the first time TPE introduced a revised timetable for autumn, which gave good results, and this year the revised timetable will run from Monday to Friday between 23 October and 8 December 2017.

TPE Customer Experience Director, Kathryn O’Brien, said: “We’ve taken the opportunity to slightly amend our timetable this autumn to make sure our service is as reliable as possible for customers.

“It may sound like a joke – leaves causing a problem for our huge and heavy trains but the residue created by squashed leaves leads to very difficult driving conditions which can affect the way we operate, much like driving on black ice and we all know how tricky that can be. This is why some of our trains have to slow down. Ensuring customers arrive safely to their destination is our priority even if this means they may be a few minutes late in some cases.

“To try and minimise the impact these conditions have on our services we have slightly amended our train plan in some areas that we know are hotspots for us. I would encourage regular customers to check their journeys prior to the Monday 23 October to ensure that they have the correct train times.”

Phil James, Head of Operation Delivery for Network Rail, said: “Leaves on the line pose a significant challenge to the rail industry, not just in Britain but around the world. In partnership with TPE we have been able to channel our efforts and use a combination of old and new ways of working to minimise the impact as much as possible.

“Throughout autumn we will continue to monitor and prepare for leaf fall and are well placed to react to deal with the issue. Customers can be assured we have invested a lot of time, money and knowledge to do all we can to keep them moving.”

Everyone can check their journey in advance using the National Rail Enquiries website or our free Journey Checker .

A summary of all the changes can be found online:

About the author


Leave a Comment