Some train services are being cancelled because of leaf fall onto the rail lines.
During autumn fallen 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.
So from Monday October 23 train company TransPennine Express (TPE) will be altering times and cancelling some services as part of its autumn train plan to avoid last minute delays and cancellations.
TPE Customer Experience Director, Kathryn O’Brien, said: “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.”
Among the changes affecting Huddersfield passengers are:
- The 06:26 Manchester Piccadilly to Hull will start from Leeds. Therefore, the departures from Manchester Piccadilly at 06:26, Huddersfield at 06:55 and Dewsbury at 07:05 will not run.
- The current 14:27 Middlesbrough to Manchester Airport will terminate at York at 15:22. As a result, the 15:23 from York to Manchester Airport will not run. This is the 15:39 from Garforth, Leeds 15:53, Huddersfield 16:11 and Manchester Piccadilly 16:52.
- The 15:06 Manchester Airport to York will not run. This is the 15:26 departure from Piccadilly, 15:55 from Huddersfield and 16:17 from Leeds.
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.
Phil James, Head of Operation Delivery for Network Rail, added: “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.”
A summary of all the changes can be found online: www.tpexpress.co.uk/travel-updates/autumn-timetable-changes