Dry ice is to be blasted onto railway strains throughout northern England in a bid to cut back delays brought on by leaves on the observe.
The brand new method, developed by engineers on the College of Sheffield, will see pellets fired in a stream of air from a passenger practice onto rails, freezing the leaves and making them brittle.
The dry ice then turns again into gasoline, inflicting it to broaden and destroy the leaves.
The method shall be trialled by operator Northern on a passenger practice within the coming weeks.
Ten million bushes line Britain’s railway system with 1000’s of tonnes of leaves falling on the road each autumn.
For the time being they’re cleared by 61 particular trains which deploy high-pressure water jets, adopted by a gel containing sand and metal grains to assist with braking.
The engineers behind the dry ice system declare their technique is considerably extra environment friendly as it may be utilized by passenger trains which cowl better distances than the fleets of cleansing trains.
Professor Roger Lewis, who’s main the event of the brand new technique, stated: “This know-how will make a step change in practice efficiency throughout autumn, bettering security.
“It can present extra predictable braking and traction than present know-how, and can assist to enhance practice efficiency, scale back delays, improve passenger satisfaction and assist using new applied sciences to allow better community utilisation of the UK’s railways.
“It is going to be nice for passengers, but additionally for all of the practice operators and Community Rail as nicely. It can make their lives a lot simpler.”
When leaves fall on the observe the impact is much like black ice on roads, as they create a slippery layer which might result in delays as trains should run gradual and brake earlier.
Autumn-related points price the railway business roughly £345 million every year.
Rob Cummings, seasonal enchancment supervisor at Northern, stated: “We’re very excited to check this new know-how throughout the autumn interval.
“One of many largest dangers to our efficiency throughout October and November is leaves on the road, however by serving to to develop new know-how we intention to ship the perfect service for our passengers.”