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Network Rail Are Painting Train Tracks White Ahead Of Record-Breaking UK Heatwave

Sonja Tutty

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| Last updated 

Network Rail Are Painting Train Tracks White Ahead Of Record-Breaking UK Heatwave

Featured Image Credit: @networkrail/Twitter

Network Rail are painting train tracks white as skyrocketing temperatures threaten buckling and misaligning rails. Have a look below:

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With rail workers strikes and the UK's hottest day looming, the last thing the Network Rail needs is the scorching sun melting their train tracks.

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.

Train tracks are at risk of 'buckling' due to the extremely high temperatures. Credit: Alamy
Train tracks are at risk of 'buckling' due to the extremely high temperatures. Credit: Alamy

Network Rail also reassures travellers 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 travelling 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.

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.

Topics: UK News, Health, Global Warming

Sonja Tutty
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