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The gradient on a route affects the power to weight ratio necessary to operate a train effectively and efficiently.
Additional locomotives may be required on occasions to assist heavy freight trains over routes with steep gradients.
Details of loads which can be conveyed and any requirement for an assisting locomotive is provided for train operators in the Freight Train Loads books. If you do not have access to these please email our access coordinator to establish the relevant requirements.
Gradients on the main line network may reach as steep as 1 in 37. Gradient information is published in the form of a map which is available to operators as supplementary information within the National Electronic Sectional Appendix (NESA).
The effect of gradients and the power of the locomotive(s) is factored into the train planning process to provide scheduled transit times for freight trains.