AN EXTRA £2.2million is being invested to manage trees and vegetation on the Wessex railway route this autumn.

Network Rail and South Western Railway(SWR) announced the joint plan which will see nine specialist track cleaning trains deployed on the line every day from October to December.

Funding will be used to clear vegetation at the side of racks, reducing the number of leaves that fall on the line.

Charlie Usher, Wessex route head of maintenance for Network Rail, said: “Our specialist track cleaning trains and extra vegetation work is part of a wide-ranging plan that we have developed with SWR, helping trains run smoothly and keeping passengers moving when the weather changes."

Between October and early December a fleet of cleaning trains will work in 12 areas every day, conducting more than 800 runs around the route. Ice and snow treatment trains, usually reserved for winter operations, are also on standby.

SWR managing director Andy Mellors said: “In the autumn months, rail conditions can be difficult, and our drivers require more time to safely apply brakes over longer periods of time.

"We will do everything we can with our colleagues at Network Rail to keep customers moving, as quickly and safely as possible, but we would like to encourage customers to check our website as some timetables will change for the duration of the autumn period.”