Autumn is a beautiful time of year and everyone can probably agree that it is wonderful when the leaves change color and fall from the trees to form large piles of leaves. However, for us rail industry workers, this is a matter of some concern. When leaves and pine needles fall onto the tracks and are crushed by train wheels, the tracks become very slippery – especially if it is also damp and the outdoor temperature is low. These conditions cause what we call track slip or leaf slip.
We have established a procedure for temporarily reducing the weight of our trains, to prevent them from getting stuck somewhere in the network. We developed the procedure to minimize disruptions in our own production, and with regard to other traffic in the rail network.
Our drivers are crucial communicators – it is their reporting of experienced track-slip problems that determines when the weight-reduction procedure should start to apply. We also adhere to the Swedish Transport Administration’s cause-of-delay reporting procedures, which includes information about the trains reported and a code for track slippage.
We maintain a dialog with the Swedish Transport Administration regarding a contingency plan for track slippage, where we review planned activities such as the application of friction agents, or the steam cleaning or high-pressure cleaning of tracks. We also monitor weather trends, as the difference between damp and dry weather conditions is of great importance to accessibility.
Access to the right input from drivers and accurate reporting from the Swedish Transport Administration allows for us to quickly scale up or scale down our production. By working systematically at an operational level, we improve the quality for ourselves and our customers, and for other companies using the Swedish Transport Administration’s infrastructure.