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Network Rail’s leaf busting trains take to the tracks to keep things moving this autumn


Through the west midlands and other areas of the country, leaf busting trains are working on railway tracks to make journeys more efficient. This is for the benefit of both passengers and freight.

Between now and December 13th, these specialist engines will blast various types of debris of the line, covering a total of 83,600 miles of track. This equates to the equivalent of going 3.35 times around the equator – not too shabby.

Once these engines clear the tracks, they apply a glue-like coating to the rails, which will help the train wheels grip better. This will be a ground-breaking change, as leaves cause lots of issues for railways when they stick to damp rails as this can affect train breaking and acceleration.

Martin Colmey, operations director for Network Rail’s Central route says “We are ready to keep people and goods moving across the West Midlands and Chiltern Main line running a safe and reliable service for our customers.”

Last year, Network rail spent £3.6million on the Central and West Coat South routes during autumn. This year 96 track gel applicators have been positioned around the route, with a sand-like gel then ready to be added to private an extra grip for the train wheels.

As this system is new, specialist teams will be positioned across the West Midlands and Chiltern main line, in order to check that the autumn treatment program is running smoothly and safely.