Reasons for delays on Southeastern trains, including infrastructure issues and engineering works
Delays explained further
Leaves on the line
Again? It’s no joke, but we’re on the case.
You wouldn’t think the humble leaf could cause so much trouble. 50 million leaves fall onto our train tracks every autumn. When mixed with rain and squashed by train wheels, they form a slippery layer on the rails like black ice. Our drivers need more time to stop and start the trains as the wheels have less grip on the tracks.
We're on the case
- Clearing hundreds of miles of trackside vegetation throughout the year
- Running special leaf-busting trains throughout autumn that clean the rails using water jets and apply a sand-based gel to help trains grip the rails
- Adding a few minutes to journey times to give drivers more time to stop and start
When the mercury plummets, even the lightest shower of rain or dusting of snow can freeze and become compacted on the rails, insulating the electric rail and preventing trains from drawing power or being able to move with any speed. And in the worst cases, it prevents them from being able to move at all.
Snow and ice also causes points - which allow trains to move between tracks - to freeze solid, or get jammed with compacted snow. When this happens, trains can’t safely run over them. The couplers that join carriages together can also become iced up, making it difficult to join them together, or split them apart, and reducing the number of trains we have available.
We’re on the case
- Running ice and snow-busting trains round the clock when winter weather strikes which are fitted with anti-icing fluid to stop the electric rail freezing up, adhesion gel for the rails for wheel grip, and snow ploughs when weather is severe
- Fitting points which are most likely to freeze with heaters and NASA-grade insulation to prevent ice forming and them sticking in place
- Applying heating strips on those electric rails most likely to freeze
- Running empty ‘ghost trains’ overnight to keep tracks and overhead cables free of snow and ice
- Changing to a Winter Weather or Severe Winter Weather Timetable to keep trains running
- And station teams are ready to go with gritting and snow-clearing
- We have flood defence teams and pumping stations at the ready
- We’re clearing drainage ditches
- We’re lifting up tracks and signaling equipment
Lightning can be frightening. It can also do real damage if it strikes the sensitive signalling systems Network Rail manage to keep our trains running.
- Special equipment to protect signals
- A new system to pinpoint lightning strikes, so we can fix signals quicker
- Monitoring them remotely
- Introducing new designs for points and their components
- Painting some points white so they absorb less heat