TfL Announces Action Plan to Tackle Leaf Fall Problems on Piccadilly Line

Including converted trains which will spread adhesive material on tracks

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 Transport for London says that a "robust" action plan is well underway to tackle problems caused by leaf fall on the Piccadilly Line this autumn.

Two specialist Rail Adhesion Trains, or RATs, are part of a package of seasonal measures being introduced to prevent disruption to the service.

The specially converted 1973 stock trains will be ready for use at the end of September and will travel on the Piccadilly line treating rails to reduce the risk of poor adhesion.

The adhesive material they dispense helps the train wheels grip the tracks during braking. When trains brake on slippery tracks it can cause the wheels to lock and subsequently wear down, an issue known as wheel flats.

The plan follows the publication of an independent report commissioned by TfL, into leaf fall issues on the Piccadilly line that have led to delays and disruption on the line over the past two years.

TfL says other measures it is taking to ensure that services on the Piccadilly line run as smoothly as possible include:

• Completing the most intensive trackside vegetation clearance programme to date to significantly reduce the amount of leaves falling on or near the track. This is already nearing completion.

• Securing access to more detailed weather prediction data which will allow a quicker response to changing leaf fall conditions and aid the decision on when to deploy the RATs.

• Erecting new trackside signage which warns drivers of any low adhesion areas and temporary speed restrictions in place.

• Developing a new Autumn timetable which allows for a reduction in train speeds in areas where low adhesion is expected, to reduce the risk to train wheels. This is in line with industry best practice and put in place every year on the Metropolitan line and Network Rail services.

• Recruiting additional train maintenance staff, and purchasing more new spare wheels, to provide a 24/7 train wheel changing facility at both depots on the Piccadilly line if needed.

Nigel Holness, London Underground’s Director of Network Operations, said: "Following disruption for Piccadilly line customers in previous years due to leaf fall, we are determined to learn from past experiences and employ every measure possible to tackle the issue effectively this year.

“We are confident that this approach will help reduce any possible delays and provide our customers with the level of service they expect."


September 1, 2017