Network Rail are painting train tracks white as skyrocketing temperatures threaten buckling and misaligning rails. Have a look below:
In a process called ‘stressing’, rail workers have had to head out to paint tracks white to prevent ‘buckled rails’
Buckled rails are when the tracks expand in the heat and become misaligned. In serious circumstances, buckled rails have led to train derailments, which can be disastrous when trains are traveling at high speeds.
The network said ‘stressing’ can bring down the tracks’ temperature by 5°C to 10°C.
The Great British service has ‘mini weather stations’ and thousands of track-side probes to monitor local conditions along the railway.
It will also introduce speed restrictions during the hottest times of the day, especially at vulnerable locations.
“Slower trains exert lower forces on the track and reduce the likelihood of buckling,” it said.
Network Rail also reassures travelers that most of its tracks are made up of long rail pieces welded together which are much less likely to buckle in the heat. Any track with shorter rails bolted together are given gaps of space so they can expand safely.
The Met Office has issued a red extreme heat warning for the first time across Monday and Tuesday, with parts of England forecast to reach a scalding 40°C. The highest level warning means there is a risk to life and regular routines will be disrupted.
It comes as Network Rail has warned rail passengers to avoid traveling during the heatwaves peak in the coming days. For those who do travel, it has recommended they wear cool clothes, bring handheld fans and carry plenty of water.
South Western Railway has said speed restrictions would particularly affect its services.
Avanti West Coast has also issued a notice to customers advising them to only come on board “if absolutely necessary” on Monday and Tuesday, due to “train crew shortages” alongside the heat warning.
For the first time temperatures of 40°C have been forecast in the UK and the first ever Red warning for exceptional heat has been issued.
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— Met Office (@metoffice) July 15, 2022
Being hit by a perfect storm, rail unions have announced more strikes in July and August. Workers at Network Rail and 14 train operators are set to strike for two days in August in a row over pay and conditions. Its workers will also hold strikes on the 27 July.
Train drivers at eight rail companies will also strike on 30 July in a dispute over pay.
It follows thousands of train operators and rail workers walking out during national strike action last month.