Leaf Fall Met Office Partnership

"regular updates and forecasts on leaf fall to manage it potential impact"
2nd November 2012


Dear Colleagues,

Every year we work hard to ensure we minimise rail service disruption caused by leaf fall. To help tackle the issue effectively, we have now partnered with the Met Office to receive regular updates and forecasts on leaf fall to manage its potential impact on services.
We are using the Met Office’s leaf fall predictor that is based on average leaf fall for a particular time of year and is calculated on a daily basis, taking into account factors such as the previous and current day's weather.  It also examines previous weather patterns and calculates how this may affect future fall.  
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, our Rail Operations team receives Met Office leaf fall predictions based on a red, amber and green system. During peak season, which began this year on October 22nd, reports are issued every day.  
This approach allows us to publish an adhesion forecast to Train Drivers so they are forewarned of the level of adhesion risk and likelihood of experiencing slippery conditions. Drivers can then adjust their driving technique to avoid wheel slippage and incident. The service also helps to predict when to treat the rail head by water jetting and applying Sandite rail adhesive for maximum effect.  
We are pleased with how effectively the leaf fall predictor service has helped us to plan and manage rail head maintenance and driving conditions and to raise driver awareness.  
In addition, our trains are fitted with manual and automatic sanders and wheel slide protection systems to help combat the effects of poor rail head conditions. Our infrastructure team also uses leaf blowers to clear platforms and walkways.   
We will continue to work hard in partnership with the Met Office to effectively manage the impact of leaf fall this Autumn and Winter.

Catherine Mason

Group Chief Executive