Sheffield rail misery: no end in sight to disruption caused by leaves on the line

Northern has advised customers to check before they travel
Northern has advised customers to check before they travel

Leaves on the line are causing misery for rail passengers in Sheffield, with no end in sight to the disruption.

Northern says dozens of carriages have been rendered out of action this week after their wheels were damaged by fallen leaves.

This has led to cancellations, delays and shorter trains on many routes.

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The Sheffield to Huddersfield route has been particularly badly affected, with trains only travelling between Huddersfield and Barnsley in many cases.

Those services are not calling at Wombwell, Elsecar, Chapeltown, Meadowhall and Sheffield.

The Doncaster to Leeds service has also been significantly disrupted.

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The operator said while autumn was always a difficult time, this week was proving particularly challenging, with more trains than usual needing repair at the same time.

Northern said it does not know how long the disruption is likely to last, though services are expected to be affected until at least the end of the week.

It has advised customers to check before they travel.

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Northern was unable to say exactly how many carriages required repair this afternoon, but 28 were out of action last night.

In a statement, Northern said: “We would like to apologise to any customer who face delays, cancellations or a reduction in carriages.

“Issues related to the time of year – excess leaves on the line and damp weather – continue to cause problems for the rail industry and have caused several carriages to be taken out of service.

“Large numbers of leaves on the track, as well as other seasonal problems, can cause damage to train wheels. When wheels are damaged (wheel flats) the carriage has to be taken out of service and the wheel repaired before the problem becomes more serious.

“We currently have more trains out of service than normal and have had to alter some of our services deal with the reduced number of carriages.”

“To keep such disruption to a minimum we're working hard to keep the tracks in the best possible condition.

“Our trains are fitted with sanders which treat the tracks as they move and Network Rail has leaf busting maintenance trains which blast water and sand onto the tracks to remove leaves and provide more grip for trains.”

For the latest service updates, visit Northern’s website.