Leaves on the railway track might not be considered a problem, but in reality, they could pose serious threats to the normal functioning of trains. Therefore, in order to prevent any serious situation from occurring, a new technology has been devised in which the trains are equipped with plasma jets and lasers. The technology would help in removing leaves from the railway lines that would otherwise cause problems. It should be noted that the technology is currently being tested on the East Lancashire Railway in order to determine its efficacy. Laser Precision Solutions and PlasmaTrack are involved in the testing phase of the project, as per the information released by Network Rail.
According to Network Rail, leaves on the railway track are more dangerous than they could think of as it has the potential to cause “serious problems” for the running trains. It might lead to difficulty in breaking or accelerating action for trains due to the compressed layer of leaves present on the railway line. Furthermore, leaves on the track get compressed by the moving trains and the end product transforms into a thick and black residue. Due to the formation of this residue, it becomes extremely difficult for navigators to detect the current location of the train in an effective way.
Therefore, this new technology completely eliminates the black residue on the tracks through the vaporization of the contaminants and the rest can be done through the plasma beam that helps in heating and burning off the leaf layer. In addition to this, the Project engineer Suhayb Manzoor said, “Leaves on the line are often seen as a joke on the railway but they can cause serious problems and we’re always looking at new ways to tackle this age-old problem.” He stated further, “It’s exciting to be putting some of the newest technology out there to the test with the hope that one day it could help Network Rail keep passengers and freight moving safely at this operationally challenging time of year.”
To that end, the chairman of East Lancashire Railway, Mike Kelly, said, “When people think of heritage railways, they probably think they just look at preserving the past, but here at the East Lancashire Railway we want to be a modernizer too.”