What are the consequences of autumn weather?
Extreme weather conditions can affect rail travel. For example, a fallen tree may damage overhead lines, or fallen leaves can cause slipperiness in combination with rain or oil. This can have consequences for travellers.
Fallen leaves, moisture and rust can cause slipperiness on the tracks. As a result, the wheels of the trains have less grip on the rails. This means that engineers need to take more time to brake and accelerate. For passengers, this may mean that departure and arrival times change by a few minutes in the autumn.
In a video on YouTube, ProRail explains the causes and consequences of slippery tracks. Slippery conditions on the rails can cause the train's wheels to stop turning, which in turn causes uneven wear, or the so-called 'square wheels'. This not only produces an unpleasant clunk-clunk noise, but also results in damage to the train and tracks. Fortunately, we have the technology to make 'square' wheels round again.
Branches and trees on the rails
Stormy autumn weather can cause trees to fall and branches to break off. These can land on railway tracks or on overhead lines, preventing trains from running on the affected routes. ProRail therefore regularly prunes the trees and branches along the tracks.