Greater Anglia gets past leaf-fall season with few problems on new trains
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A year after the introduction of Greater Anglia’s fleet of new Stadler trains across the network was blighted partly by problems with leaves on the line, the autumn leaf-fall season across the region has largely passed without incident.
According to Network Rail, which tries to ensures the tracks are clear of leaves which can cause serious problems for trains, more than 90% of the leaves that can cause problems on the line have now fallen – and the effect on rail services has been minimal.
A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said the company’s services had returned very good reliability figures during the autumn – thanks to an increase in the number of track-cleaning trains run by Network Rail and the high-technology equipment on the new trains to ensure there were no major problems with wheel slips.
She said: “We get regular updates from Network Rail about how many of the leaves have fallen – and now they think there are only about 7% left on the trees and there really haven’t been any major issues with this during this season.”
Network Rail’s special trains sent to clear tracks around the region have become a familiar sight to rail travellers over the last few weeks as they have been doing more runs than many years – but their work appears to have paid off.
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Last year leaves on the line and software problems with the new trains that had just been introduced led to serious problems on rural routes during the winter.
A near-miss on a level crossing in Norfolk during the leaf-fall restriction led to major speed restrictions being imposed and services were cancelled while the problems were investigated. Eventually engineers were confident the problems did not lie with the new trains – but a full report on what happened has still to be released.
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Last year’s problems were nothing new – in autumn 2015 leaves on the line caused major problems with the rail operator’s earlier fleet of diesel trains after wheel slips forced many to be withdrawn for repairs.
Greater Anglia was forced to withdraw trains from several lines and brought in new equipment to its workshops and made alterations to its trains which proved their worth the following year as from 2016 on there were few problems during the leaf-fall season.