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[BBC] Now it's pollen delaying trains

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6 Mar 2006
Now it's pollen delaying trains

First it was leaves on the line, then the wrong kind of snow, now pollen has caused problems for rail managers.

High levels of it over the summer blocked some train radiators on the Cambrian Line between Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth, Arriva Trains Wales has revealed.

Details emerged when a passenger watchdog complained about delays.

Mike Bagshaw of Arriva Trains said: "We are confident that the problem will not arise next summer."

It is not the first time Mother Nature has caused rail companies problems.

Leaves on the line has been a common complaint, but in 1991 British Rail blamed the "wrong type of snow" for the delay to trains.

Ivor Morris, treasurer of the watchdog, Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth Rail Passenger Service (Sarpa), said the issue emerged at a meeting with Arriva.

He said: "The meeting had been arranged to discuss, in the main, the feasibility of a new hourly service between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury.

"But some members of our group were annoyed that some services on the Cambrian Line had been up to an hour late in June.

"Arriva said the gradient on the track at Tallerdig (near Machynlleth), the hot weather and high levels of pollen were to blame. They said pollen had blocked train radiators and they had failed."

Mr Bagshaw, commercial director for Arriva Trains Wales, said: "Thick pollen was affecting the radiators on a very small number of our trains, on a small section of the Cambrian railway line, near Welshpool.

"Of the 116 trains in our fleet this problem affected just a handful of trains and only for a short period in June."

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