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Leaving early because of leaves

Autumn Leaves
WAGN aims to stop leaves leaving commuters late for work.  Fujifilm
WAGN has taken steps to beat the leaves on the line delays this autumn by arranging for all trains to set off earlier than scheduled.

The company has also introduced new "leaves on the line" procedures and training to try to avoid the problems that led to delays, cancellations and fraught nerves last year.

WAGN says it is determined to get passengers to and from London with the minimum of delay.

"Great Northern services from Cambridge, Peterborough, Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City to Kings Cross and Moorgate will therefore run to a slightly revised morning peak timetable from Monday 14 October until further notice," the company said.

Measures to be taken to beat, what is termed, "leaf-fall conditions" include ...

  • A leaf clearing machine on standby
  • Line side vegetation clearance
  • The installation of sander equipment on many trains which blows sand on rails to improve grip.
According to Route Director James Adeshiyan, the aim is to ensure people get to work on time. He said the strategy of beating "leaf-fall conditions" focuses on three locations where, if trains arrive late, the whole of the Great Northern service can be disrupted:
  • Hitchin, where the Cambridge line joins the main line to Kings Cross
  • Welwyn, where the four tracks are reduced to two to cross the viaduct
  • Alexandra Palace, where the lines are used by all services running into Kings Cross.
So, to avoid the disruption that can result from "leaf-fall problems", WAGN has decided that all trains to Kings Cross and Moorgate will depart from their originating station up to five minutes earlier than scheduled and will leave intermediate stations three to five minutes earlier than shown in the winter timetable.

According to WAGN these arrangements will last from Monday, October 14, until the company is sure the leaf-fall period is over. WAGN says this period can last a few weeks or several months, depending on the weather. As soon as the company feels it can return to the normal timetable it says it will let everyone know.

WAGN says a few morning trains from Kings Cross and Moorgatewill also be retimed a little earlier. These arrangements will apply only on Mondays-Fridays during the morning peak period. At all other times details of train services remain unchanged.

According to WAGN, the scheduled arrival times in London will remain unchanged. The company says there will be no reduction in the number or length of trains.

WAGN says the extra few minutes per train will, however, provide recovery time for any train which is affected by slippery rails and enable it to pass the key locations at its allotted time, thus avoiding congestion and resulting delays.

The statement from WAGN doesn’t make clear whether, if the leaves are not a problem, a train will be held back to meet the new later arrival times in the revised timetable.

To help explain all this better, WAGN is issuing a leaflet with details of the revised morning peak timetable from Friday, October 4.

James Adeshiyan said he hoped what he termed "these relatively minor alterations" do not cause WAGN passengers any problems.

"I can assure them that we are doing all we can to provide them with a robust service during this annual challenge . I would, however, advise everyone just to check their train times - a few minutes one way or the other can make all the difference between catching and missing a train," he said.

You can discuss this in this site’s Forum.

October 3, 2002

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