Train late? Blame it on the leaves
Autumn leaves may be colourful, but they may also be responsible for delyaing your daily commute. (Rick Eglinton/The Toronto Star)
If you’re wondering why the GO Train is late this time of year, it could be the leaves.
“Mother nature throws a lot of things at us,” said Michael Cyr, director of rail services.
The problem at this time of year is pectin, a sap in leaves that goes all over the tracks. At this time of year, from mid-October into November, leaves can collect on the tracks. When a train runs over the leaves a slippery substance is created, Cyr said.
“That slows down the train,” he said, adding that it can cause a train’s wheels to spin.
Places where trees with broad leaves over hang the tracks include the area between Union Station and Danforth.
Cyr said the leaves, coming from trees like Maple, Oak and Elm, create more of a problem for passenger trains than freight trains because of the higher speed that passenger trains travel at.
So far this fall it’s caused a few five to 10 minute delays, he said.
To combat the problem, high powered water is sprayed to get rid of the pectin and sand is put on the tracks to create traction.
Cyr said leaves will likely be an issue for a few more weeks. Then when winter hits, he said, ice and snow on the tracks will be the concern.
Carys Mills, Staff Reporter