For years, the West Midlands’ busiest local line has suffered a poor service through the Autumn as leaves fall.  We have suffered temporary timetables that have cut out stops with poor logic - and still not run to time.  Part of the problem has been the light weight of the Class 323s. New trains are coming which ought to cope better.

Now from 14 October for seven weeks to 29 November, Cross City has this year’s leaf fall timetable.  It only applies on Mondays to Fridays.  Up until 09.30, trains will call at all stations into New Street and for all trains out of New Street after 16.00 to give commuters the best service.  There will be some easing of schedules by up to three minutes.

From the depot at Kings Norton, Railhead Treatment Trains are touring the West Midlands network, spraying water at high pressure to wash leaf debris off the top of the rails.  They expect to cover 121,884 miles in our region, equal to going around the world almost five times.  The cost last year was £4.5 million.  There are also 118 gel applicators at key points, spraying a sand like gel to help train wheels get a grip.

New this year is a trial of spraying sand directly under a train’s wheels when needed.  We are hosting this experiment on each Sunday in October between Barnt Green and Redditch.  It means Alvechurch and Redditch rail users will be bus substituted on those Sundays.

3 October 2019

Cross City Gets New ‘Leaves On The Line’ Treatment

Words and photo: Keith Flinders