Greater Anglia train timetables changing to reduce delays from leaves on the line

Jamie Burles, Managing Director of Greater Anglia. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Jamie Burles, Managing Director of Greater Anglia. Picture: Victoria Pertusa - Credit: Archant

Greater Anglia trains will leave earlier this autumn to help London-bound services avoid problems including leaves on the line.

One of the new Greater Anglia train arriving at London Liverpool Street. Picture: Greater Anglia.

One of the new Greater Anglia train arriving at London Liverpool Street. Picture: Greater Anglia. - Credit: Greater Anglia

The changes, which are made every year, are brought in to ensure that passengers still arrive in London on time by giving drivers time to brake and accelerate if autumnal weather and compacted leaves cause slippery conditions.

Leaves on the line pose problems for the railway as they stick to damp rails and passing trains compress them into a thin, slippery black layer on the rail which – much like black ice on the roads – can affect braking distance and reduce traction and acceleration.

This means train drivers must slow down earlier for stations and signals to avoid overshooting them.

They must also accelerate more gently to avoid wheel spin.


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All this can increase journey time and lead to delays.

To prevent these problems from happening, Greater Anglia intercity trains leaving Norwich, Diss, Stowmarket, Ipswich, and Manningtree before 7.30am will depart up to five minutes earlier, Monday to Friday only.

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Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia’s managing director, said: “We are pleased to be taking action in partnership with Network Rail this autumn to help passengers continue to travel with confidence.

“The last six months have seen excellent levels of punctuality across the network and we will be doing everything we can to maintain this during what has traditionally been seen as a difficult season for the railway.”

“We will be doing all we can, as ever, to make lives a little easier for our passengers, getting them from a to b reliably, safely, on time and in comfort.”

MORE: Rail services ramped up as schools returnAs well as earlier departure times, Greater Anglia combats leaves on the line by using automatic sanders on its trains which clean off any leaf mulch as they go, and help wheels grip.

The vehicles also use technology which helps trains brake more evenly, preventing wheel damage and wear that could lead to trains being taken out of service for repair.

Greater Anglia continues to ensure that rail travel is safe thanks to extra cleaning, a wide range of measures to make it easier for customers to maintain social distancing at stations and the mandatory wearing of face coverings.

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