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During the Autumn, Network Rail run a number of Rail Head Treatment Trains (RHTTs). These are used to improve track conditions during the leaf fall season. This is done using a combination of water cannons and the application of sandite (a thick sand based paste that improves adhesion) to the rail surface.

Sandite is applied through pipes located on one of the bogies of one of the vehicles while water canons spray water from the centre of one of the vehicles. Sandite and spraying are only carried out at a maximum speed of 40mph. Sandite application stops if the train drops below 10mph.

66413 and 66412 top and tail the Inverness RHTT through Perth. Photo by Ewan

Track cleaning and sandite application are only carried out at specific points on the routes covered by the RHTT trains. There are sandite start and end boards which indicate where sandite should be applied. The signalman can also request the RHTT to treat track which has been found to be contaminated.

The Scottish RHTT trains for the Autumn 2007 season were operated by either a pair of DRS 66/4s in top and tail formation (which allows the train to reverse without having to carry out a run-round) or by MPVs (Multi-Purpose Vehicles - Two-car multiple units with driving cabs and a flat bed for carrying various modules at different times of the year).

A Network Rail MPV on RHTT duties passes Cardross, 13th Oct 2007 Photo by Darrel



Times for the 2014 season RHTT trains in Scotland:


Times for the 2012 Season RHTT trains in Scotland.


Times for the 2011 season RHTT trains in Scotland:


Times for the 2010 season RHTT trains in Scotland:

Note timings are for Saturdays. Weekdays timings may differ.
Runing from 06/10/10 to 26/11/10 (but may end earlier).


Times for the 2009 season RHTT trains in Scotland (expected to run from 7th October until 28th November) :

  • Ayr TMD 3S90 SX, 3S90 SO, 3S90 SUN (MPV) Ayrshire/Inverclyde
  • Mossend 3S91 SX, 3S91 SO, 3S91 SUN (MPV) North Electric/Hamilton/Carthcart Circle
  • Millerhill 3S93 MTWFO, 3S93 SO (MPV) Fife Circle/Dunblane
  • Millerhill 3S93 SUN, (MPV) West Highland, on 8th, 15th, 22nd November.
  • Ayr TMD 3S94, (MPV) Lanark/Shotts/East Kilbride
  • Inverness 3S95 EWD (DBS 67) Aberdeen/Dundee/Perth. Amended Timings for 3S95 due to Blockage south of Aberdeen in November.
  • Carlisle Kingmoor 3S09 TWFO (DRS locos) Dumfries/Mauchline


Times for the 2008 season RHTT trains in Scotland:


In 2007, RHTT trains ran using new 3Sxx headcodes in Scotland.


In 2006 they ran using a 3Zxx headcode and described by the special bell code 3-4-2 in Absolute Block signalling areas. In 2006 there were five trains running in Scotland, based at the following locations: