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British Rail turns over a new leaf

British Rail is confident of overcoming its annual 'leaves on the line' problem this autumn.

Last year, high winds and wet weather meant that delays caused by leaves were the worst for 25 years. Wet leaves on the track puts trains at risk of skidding.

This year BR has introduced a number of technical innovations. These include the Swedish scrubber - a track-scrubbing train from Sweden - and the Austrian snake-grinder - a wagon fitted with hydraulically-controlled abrasive blocks slung between the wheels.