‘Leaves on the line’ are a common rail problem during the autumn period in the UK. Fallen leaves each year from September to December create mulch like substances on the rail line making the rail head slippery. This slippery rail reduces adhesion between the track and the train wheel. The lower adhesion causes delays, trains to slip and not stop at stations which often results in changes to the usual timetable.
A PhD project, at the University of Birmingham, is investigating alternative ways of measuring leaf fall which could help reduce delays in the autumn period. In order to do this a team of volunteers is needed to measure leaf fall around the country. This will help to gain a greater understanding of when different tree species fall across the UK.
Jennifer is therefore looking for volunteers who can spare 10 minutes, 3 days a week, to make observations about leaf fall in a local woodland area. These observations don’t need to be near a rail line.
Volunteers will be sent an observation sheet. This is an Excel document that you can fill in with your observations. If you are interested in improving rail safety and taking a walk around local woodland areas then please help and get involved.
If you are interested in volunteering or have any further questions about the project please get in contact with Jennifer (email: JXK067@bham.ac.uk).