RSSB funded project could see end to delays caused by leaves on the line

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A project which received development funding from RSSB could see an end to delays caused by leaves on the line.

Cambridgeshire-based firm Mole Solutions, believes that installing electromagnets into train braking systems which could bring an end to delays caused when thousands of tonnes of leaves fall onto lines every autumn. The leaves form a slippery layer which force drivers to brake earlier and accelerate more slowly which can cause delays. 

Bob Silverthorne, development director at Mole Solutions, explained: "When a train is coming into a station you want to see it slowing down at a certain rate. You measure its speed and compare that to the rate it should be slowing down. The difference is programmed into the electromagnets to add the extra braking that's required." Mr Silverthorne said the project - which is three months into a six-month feasibility study - would improve timetables and capacity by allowing operators to run services closer together.

"Predictable and optimised braking on the UK rail network will benefit all users by enabling more reliable timetabling and increased capacity", said Neil Webster, RSSB's Future Railway Programme Director. "Subject to a successful feasibility study and further testing, Mole Solutions could open up a new system of train control whereby off vehicle braking would become an interactive part of the journey management process."

Mole Solutions were one of the winning entries to last year's 'Predictable and Optimised Braking Challenge' which was launched by RSSB to find new ways of improving train braking performance.  They received funding to carry out a six-month feasibility study to investigate the viability of their proposed solution. 

The other winning entries who also received funding to carry out feasibility studies came from Alstom Transport, Federal-Mogul Friction Products Ltd, The Imagination Factory, Loughborough University, Newcastle University and the University of Sheffield.

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