Autumn weather can be challenging to safely run trains on the world’s railway infrastructure. There are typically millions of trees on and next to a railway infrastructure, every autumn, many tonnes of leaves fall onto the tracks. Windy conditions can cause heavy leaf-fall in a short space of time and rain means they are more likely to stick to the rails.
When trains pass over leaves, the heat and weight of the trains bake them into a thin, slippery layer on the rail. “This is equivalent to ice skating on rails.” Slippery rails make it hard for trains to accelerate and brake effectively. Safety is priority, so when this happens, drivers must be more cautious when pulling out of stations and brake much earlier for stations and signals to make sure they stop in time. This can lead to longer journey times, delays and even train cancellations.
A build-up of leaves on the tracks can also cause delays by forming a barrier between the train wheels and the electrical circuits that are part of the track system that help to pin-point where trains are on the network. Leaf-busting trains which move around the network cleaning the top of the rail by spraying it with high-pressured water jets to rid the rail of leaf mulch and contamination.
Interflon have developed a unique fast acting liquid which dissolves organic leaf matter as well as dissolving rail oxidation on contact: Interflon LeafGuard.