ScotRail boast better performance as ‘leaf trains’ deal an Autumn blow

A Railhead Treatment train in action this week

A BUMPER YEAR FOR LEAFS has had to be dealt with by rail operators to ensure that they continue to improve punctuality of services in Moray and throughout the country.

Information published by the ScotRail Alliance has revealed that leaf fall has more than doubled when compared to the same week in 2016.

However, despite having to deal with what is perhaps the most famous reason for delaying services on the railway, ScotRail say that performance over the last month has still risen to 88.3%.

Leaves on the line man that drivers must break and accelerate slower than normal – and that causes delays and disruption. Other factors impacting performance in recent weeks include four incidents of cable theft or vandalism, a fault with overhead wires, and an empty third-party locomotive mistakenly passing a red signal – resulting in all signals on that line turning red.

The ScotRail Alliance is investing £2.6million to keep the trains moving during the autumn – including 11 leaf fall teams and a fleet of seven specialist leaf-busting trains.

ScotRail Alliance Infrastructure Director David Dickson said: “Our investment and efforts to keep our network open in autumn are paying off. We understand just how important it is to run a punctual, reliable service for our customers. That’s why we are investing £2.6million to keep people moving during the autumn.

“While often scoffed at as an ‘excuse’ for delays, leaves on the line are a big problem for the railway as they make rails dangerously slippy. We’re tackling the difficult conditions created by leaf fall every day just now.

“This has been a challenging few weeks, but we are doing everything we can to address any problems that arise quickly, to take preventative action wherever possible and make sure that our customers are given good quality information. It’s all part of our plan to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.”

The report comes in the week that saw the new Forres rail station open for its first full week serving the Inverness to Aberdeen line, alongside the new double-track level crossing in Elgin and modern signalling being put in place.