Heavy snow can make branches break off trees, damaging overhead wires and blocking the track.
Wind can cause snow drifts of 30cm or more – in this case, trains would need to be fitted with snow ploughs to run safely.
How we prepare
Typical preparation for winter weather includes making sure the track is clear, with no overhanging snow-covered vegetation, no icicles at tunnel entrances, and spare parts delivered where needed for assets sensitive to snow and ice. Fences on major routes prevent snow blowing onto the tracks.
Our Team Orange patrol the tracks day and night to clear snow and ice from junctions and tunnels, while a helicopter fitted with thermal imaging identifies points heaters that aren’t working effectively.
Heaters are attached to points to prevent ice forming, and there are protective covers on 4,000 points and 2,500 points motors to keep out snow.