London Midland is introducing a temporary leaf fall timetable on the Abbey Line again this year. The autumn timetable will apply from Monday, 23 October until Saturday, 9 December.
Services will be retimed by a few minutes at most stations with slightly extended journeys to allow for trains taking longer to start with wet/slippery rails and for braking earlier at stations.
Autumn leaf fall creates challenging driving conditions for trains. The wheels and rails can become coated with a hard residue, making the rail head slippery, so drivers need to adapt to the driving conditions. The alterations mean that trains can accelerate and brake more gently in the expected slippery conditions.
London Midland’s head of West Coast Services, Steve Helfet, said, “Autumn is when the punctuality of our trains is most at risk, so it’s right that we make changes.
“We listen carefully to customers and have reviewed feedback from previous years. I firmly believe the changes we are making offer a safe and sensible solution and will help to minimise delays and keep our service moving to a predictable timetable”.
Amending the timetable is just one step in the process of preparing for autumn. We have worked closely with Network Rail to reduce the impact of leaf fall, from identifying ‘hot spots’ for cutting back trees and vegetation, to increasing how often the rails are sprayed clean.
Steve added, “We’re doing everything we can to mitigate the impact of leaf fall and deliver the best possible service for passengers.
“The key advice is check before you travel. There are a number of ways to do that. A printed version of the autumn timetable is available from London Midland stations and you can also check the London Midland app and website – where a dedicated leaf fall page has been created at www.londonmidland.com/leaffall .
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Since 2007, London Midland has been providing train services to and from London in the south, to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool in the north-west. Over 70 million passenger journeys a year are made using on the network and London Midland manages 150 stations and operates 1,300 services a day.
London Midland is owned by Govia, the partnership between the Go-Ahead Group and Keolis. Govia is the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for nearly 30 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its three rail companies, GTR (which includes Gatwick Express services), Southeastern and London Midland. Further information on Govia is available at www.govia.info
London Midland has won a range of awards, including Best Local Transport Integration, five Rail Business Awards for marketing, public relations and customer information, five Golden Spanner Awards for Engineering, three IOIC awards for internal communication and three Railstaff Awards for Outstanding Customer Service, Lifesaving and Charity Work. In 2017 London Midland was named as Britain's most improved train company by the Institute of Rail Operators and the UK's most improved organisation for customer service in the UKCSI survey.
In 2017 London Midland was awarded the Investors in People (IiP) Gold Award and been awarded the 5 Star award by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) in 2014.