TfL sprays glue on Tube tracks to rid Piccadilly Line of dangerous "leaves on the line"

Oliver Gill
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Autumn Leaves
Leaves can cause huge disruption to Tube services that have section of track above ground (Source: Getty)

Transport for London is planning to remove "leaves on the line" from its Tube delays book of excuses by spraying glue on the tracks.

Two 1973-stock trains have been commandeered by TfL to treat rails with a special sticky surface, helping train wheels grip better under braking.

The move follows an independent report prepared for TfL earlier this year that concluded only 38 out of a required 79 Piccadilly line trains could be offered for customer service as a result of leaves on the line.

Read more: Severe Tube delays due to industrial action will continue during rush hour

This autumn, TfL will also undertake other measures in its battle against vegetation invasion. These include:

  • Cutting back bushes and vegetation to "significantly reduce" the amount of leaves falling on or near the track.
  • Accessing better weather prediction data to allow a quicker response to changing leaf fall conditions and aid a speedy deployment of RATs
  • Putting up new signs to warn drivers of "low adhesion areas" and temporary speed restrictions
  • Developing a new autumn timetable which allows for a reduction in train speeds in areas where low adhesion is expected, to reduce the risk to train wheels.
  • Recruiting more train maintenance staff, and purchasing more new spare wheels, to provide a 24/7 train wheel changing facility at depots on the Piccadilly line.

Network operations director Nigel Holness said London Underground was "determined to learn from past experiences and employ every measure possible to tackle the issue effectively this year".

He added:

We are confident that this approach will help reduce any possible delays and provide our customers with the level of service they expect.

Read more: Service suspended on Piccadilly Line due to person on the track

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