SOUTHEASTERN passengers are being warned some train times are to be altered at the end of the month due to falling leaves.
The changes affect a small number of early morning services which will start a few minutes earlier, as of Sunday September 29.
Autumn presents a huge challenge for rail operators, with some routes particularly vulnerable to poor rail conditions due to leaf fall.
Leaves fallen on the line, compressed by passing trains, become a slippery, resin-like substance that is difficult to remove and creates greasy track conditions much like black ice on the road.
And in the mornings, with frosty, wet and cold conditions, the leaves can form an insulating barrier between the power in the third rail and the train, which can affect the train’s running speed.
Southeastern, which runs services between Hastings and London Charing Cross via Battle, Crowhurst, Robertsbridge and Etchingham, says starting the early morning services a few minutes earlier will help minimise the knock-on effect of any delays and will allow drivers time to adapt to the driving conditions.
The autumn timetable will run until December 7 2013.