TRAINS designed to blast leaves off the line will be introduced to keep passengers moving.

Leaves on the line pose problems for the railway and it means train drivers must slow down earlier for stations and signals to avoid overshooting them. They must also accelerate more gently to avoid wheel spin.

All this can increase journey time and lead to delays for passengers.

Following months of planning, six leaf busting trains will operate 24/7 to minimise the disruption caused by leaves on the line.

Network Rail has analysed data to identify several problem hotspots across the Anglia route – particularly where trees and vegetation grow close to the line.

The specialist trains will travel around 80,000 kilometres between now until December 13 across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, East London and Essex.

The trains blast leaves off the track using high pressure water jets, then coat the rail with a gel which provides more grip to the train to prevent delays caused by slippery rails.

This year is also the first full year all Greater Anglia trains are fitted with Wheel Slide Protection.

Mark Budden, Network Rail Anglia’s route director, said: “We have looked at the data to identify where the hotspots are and are fully prepared to deal with leaves that fall onto the tracks, which create a problem similar to black ice on the road.

“We’re working with the train operators to prevent delays to trains. We’re going to be working twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to keep passengers moving, so they can get to their destination safely and reliably this autumn.”

Rail passengers using Greater Anglia’s intercity service between Norwich and London are being advised to check before they travel this autumn as some trains will leave earlier than usual until mid-December.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia’s Managing Director, said: “We are acutely aware of the frustration and inconvenience felt by our passengers if things go wrong, so we are pleased to be taking action in partnership with Network Rail, making additional preparations to protect train services during what is traditionally a difficult period on the railway.

“We will be doing all we can, as ever, to make lives a little easier for our passengers, getting them from A to B reliably, on time and in comfort.”

Greater Anglia intercity trains leaving Norwich, Diss, Stowmarket, Ipswich, and Manningtree before 7.30am will depart up to five minutes earlier, Monday to Friday only.