Train driver comes up with solution for ‘leaves on the line’ delays

A Dutch Rail train driver has come up with a solution for ever-present autumn train delays caused by leaves on the track – spraying the rails with water.

The Telegraaf reports on Monday that train driver Rene Slagter came up with the idea because leaves are less likely to stick to wet tracks.

Trains have to drive more slowly in the autumn because leaves which have become stuck on the rails can slow down braking procedures, causing delays. But leaves which blow onto wet rails are broken down after a couple of trains have driven over them, removing the hazard.

Ingrid Thijssen, director of NS’s passenger services, told the Telegraaf the company helped fund the experiment and has jointly applied for a patent with Slagter.

However, a spokesman for track operator ProRail said the project is still in its early days and it is too early to say if the idea will prove a success in practice.

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