Leeds and Yorkshire: Leaves on line? Trains to be given more time

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Bosses at Northern Rail have started a leaf-busting plan of action designed to keep their services running safely during autumnal weather.

The operator has introduced tweaked schedules that take into account the additional time that its drivers need for journeys due to the seasonal fall of leaves on Yorkshire’s railway lines.

The Penistone Line between Huddersfield and Sheffield is among the local routes where autumnal timetables are in force, with trains from Huddersfield to Denby Dale departing up to five minutes earlier.

Services heading towards Huddersfield, meanwhile, are arriving up to six minutes later.

A spokeswoman for Northern Rail said: “When leaves fall on the tracks, they are compressed down and mulched by passing trains and become a slippery substance that is not only very difficult to remove but also creates greasy track conditions, just like black ice on the road.

“And like a warning for black ice when you’re in your car, our train drivers have to take extra care when braking and accelerating, which can lead to delays.

“Starting our early morning services a few minutes earlier helps minimise the knock-on effect of these delays throughout the day and allows drivers time to adapt to the difficult driving conditions.”

Northern is also working to maintain supplies of sand that are stored in under-train boxes and can be released by drivers so their vehicles’ wheels gain more traction on the rails.

Network Rail, the company responsible for the country’s railway infrastructure, is doing its bit to tackle the problem too.

Its staff are using specialist equipment to blast tracks with water then coating them with an adhesive gel for improved grip.

Northern’s autumn timetables will be in effect until December 7. The firm runs 2,500 trains every weekday on a network that links Leeds to cities such as Bradford, York and Sheffield.

For more details on service changes, visit the www.wymetro.com website or ring MetroLine on 0113 245 7676.