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The War against Leaves

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Eksperimentia
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Founded: Aug 30, 2009
Ex-Nation

The War against Leaves

Postby Eksperimentia » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:30 am

Network Rail (a UK train operator) has today released news that they are managing to hold back the relentless waves of leaves that usually cause delays on tracks:

BBC wrote:Rail line leaf delays 'slashed'

The number of severe train delays due to leaves on the line has been "slashed", according to Network Rail.

In 2003, UK commuters were delayed for a total of 3,000 minutes due to leaves, but chopping overhanging branches and modern trains have reduced the problem.

Last month 93.6% of trains rain on time, according to Network Rail. It said: "Our action has slashed delays."

However, some train operators implement leaf fall timetables, allowing for slower journeys as a safety precaution.

While Network Rail stopped short of saying leaf-related delays were a thing of the past altogether, a spokesman said a "slight performance dip" in the autumn was "nothing compared with before".

Chiltern Railways and National Express are among a number of train operators to use a leaf fall timetable.

Similarly, First Capital Connect trains has announced that it is "extending morning journey times by a few minutes" in order to "deliver a more consistent service through the autumn".

The operator, whose trains run between London, Brighton, Bedford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King's Lynn, said certain morning peak trains will leave earlier "during the leaf fall period".

Explaining its decision, the train operator stated on its website: "Fallen leaves land on the rail surface and are crushed by the train wheels to form a thin, but extremely slippery coating on the rail; rather like black ice on the roads.

"Whilst this is not dangerous, it reduces the rate at which trains can speed up and slow down; this in turn extends journey times."

According to Network Rail, thousands of tonnes of leaves fall on to railway lines each year.

It says there are are 21,000 miles of track to keep clear and the cost of pruning and felling trees is between £20,000 and £50,000 per mile.

But it said its policy of managing vegetation by tracks means the issue of fallen leaves is no longer a news story.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "Passengers generally don't notice a difference in performance in autumn.

'Geographical' variation

"Passengers want a reliable service all year round and that is generally what they are getting."

Hassard Stacpoole, a spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc), said a number of its members "have a special timetable in place on some routes that may be affected".

He said such measures are taken on a "geographical" basis and "depend on the nature of the railway" being operated.

Mr Stacpoole stressed that leaves on the line are no longer the serious problem they once were for a number of reasons.

The Atoc spokesman said Network Rail has, in recent years, applied a policy of cutting down trees that hang over tracks wherever possible.

This policy has been coupled with the rolling out of modern fleets of trains.

And an adhesive substance called Sandite is applied, using dedicated trains, to combat the slipperiness of leaves.

In the past, leaf-related delays highlighted inefficiencies in the UK's rolling stock and railway infrastructure - especially when contrasted with high speed rail routes in Europe.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8314114.stm

Have you experienced similar problems with your local train operators and what other 'different' reasons have you heard for delayed trains?

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Lunatic Goofballs
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:37 am

You know, considering that the leaves fall every year, I don't really have any sympathy with anybody who hasn't adjusted to that fact by now. Odd how that so rarely applies to snow also. You get such an eclectic mix of people who drive no differently and then wonder why they are wrapped around a telephone pole and people who drive like their car is made of nitroglycerin and wonder why they end up wrapped around a telephone pole anyway. I don't think some people's learning curves bend. :p
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Muravyets
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Postby Muravyets » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:54 am

The trains on the line I use most are typically delayed due to running over track workers, more than leaves. :(

EDIT: Also, the sculptor Andy Goldworthy, who builds temporary installations out of natural materials in situ, once suspended leaves from strings from the branches of their trees to the ground, creating a "frozen" still shot of leaves in their fall. Perhaps the UK rail lines should try that -- tethering the leaves to the trees to keep them off the tracks.
Last edited by Muravyets on Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Lunatic Goofballs
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:57 am

Muravyets wrote:The trains on the line I use most are typically delayed due to running over track workers, more than leaves. :(


A year-round menace. *nod*
Last edited by Lunatic Goofballs on Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Life's Short. Munch Tacos.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
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CornixPes
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Ex-Nation

Postby CornixPes » Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:05 am

I'm currently training to be a project manager for Network Rail and I've heard about the sort of stuff they delay trains for. Traffic cones, breeze blocks, plastic bags, branches, cars, people... it's a massive nuisance. You would think in the 21st century we would have a transport system that can't be completely halted by a 11 year old chav with nothing to do.

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Charlotte Ryberg
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Charlotte Ryberg » Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:13 am

I am glad to see some progress in the battle against leaves on Britain's mainline but I am concerned about the effects of cutting back overhanging trees because that may ruin the beauty of the countryside in some cases. Eventually I am optimistic that the issue of leaves may be past, but extreme weather remains a challenge as well as the other problems as CornixPes explained.

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Rejistania
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Postby Rejistania » Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:17 am

In Germany, these delays are all-too-known. But then: the deutsche Bahn has 4 enemies: Sping, summer, autumn and winter.
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Northwest Slobovia
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:21 am

Somehow I would have thought that folks using a 175+ year old technology* would have figured out a way to deal with its annual problems long ago.

*Dating from the first public railroad in 1825.
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Zutroy
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Iron Fist Socialists

Postby Zutroy » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:45 am

ive had a train delayed by a traffic accident but never leaves...
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CornixPes
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Ex-Nation

Postby CornixPes » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:52 am

They probably tell you it was an accident to avoid the embarrassment of having to admit they are scared of leaves.

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Extreme Ironing
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Founded: Jan 03, 2004
Ex-Nation

Postby Extreme Ironing » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:01 am

These pesky leaves, moving about without warning and getting in the way of our transport system. Damned immigrants; send them back to where they came from, I say.
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Port Arcana
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Postby Port Arcana » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:16 am

Why not just put a giant wind turbine or reverse vacuum thingie in the front of the train so it acts like a giant mobile leaf blower? :)

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Northwest Slobovia
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:22 am

Port Arcana wrote:Why not just put a giant wind turbine or reverse vacuum thingie in the front of the train so it acts like a giant mobile leaf blower? :)

Should work. There are railroad snowblowers that are just forward-facing jet engines.
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Call to power
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Ex-Nation

Postby Call to power » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:24 am

people still use trains :blink:

Muravyets wrote:EDIT: Also, the sculptor Andy Goldworthy, who builds temporary installations out of natural materials in situ, once suspended leaves from strings from the branches of their trees to the ground, creating a "frozen" still shot of leaves in their fall. Perhaps the UK rail lines should try that -- tethering the leaves to the trees to keep them off the tracks.


yes a web of strings in the path of an oncoming train sounds like a brilliant idea by any chance work do you work for network rail? :p
Last edited by Call to power on Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Fartsniffage
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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Fartsniffage » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:25 am

Port Arcana wrote:Why not just put a giant wind turbine or reverse vacuum thingie in the front of the train so it acts like a giant mobile leaf blower? :)


Wouldn't that really damage the efficiency of the train?


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