Wrong Kind of Pleasant Weather Slows the Trains

By Gary Cutlack on at

The rail companies are warning that some services may slow down this summer, as our mini annual three-day heatwave leads to an increased risk of rails buckling and extreme disaster scenarios occurring, such as trains derailing and crashing into schools, power stations, hospitals etc etc.

First Great Western has cancelled some fast trains departing from Paddington, with Network Rail warning that any buckling of lines could lead to lengthy closure for repairs once the hot tracks have cooled and -- hooray! -- the potential for more delays on boiling hot trains during the only few hours we're not stuck in sad rooms in front of computers this summer.

Network Rail explained its decision, with a spokesperson saying: "Track temperatures this week are predicted to exceed 50 degrees Celsius in many places, meaning we will need to impose speed restrictions at some locations. This is because slower trains exert lower forces on the track, reducing the risk of buckling and keeping passengers moving."

Seeing as it's an issue that affects the railways each summer, Network Rail has previously published a jaunty video explaining all about how rails work, lest you be a bit confused about how such massive lumps of metal can bend at all. [Standard]