Record temperatures could cause train travel disruption

By Andy Lloyd

Stalybridge train commuters have been warned by Network Rail of possible travel disruptions due to record high temperatures this week.

Network Rail has responded to the soaring temperatures by activating their ‘extreme action weather teams’ (EWATs) across the North-West.

Most of the railway will operate normally, but speed restrictions may be introduced during the hottest part of the day at vulnerable locations.

The hot weather, particularly direct sunlight, can cause track temperatures to rise to more than 50°C. When the steel tracks become very hot, they expand, bend, flex and in severe cases buckle.

Slower trains exert lower forces on the track and reduce the likelihood of buckling. If rails buckle the line has to be closed for repair before trains can run again.

James Dean, chief operating officer for North-West and Central, said: “Keeping passengers moving is always our top priority. But we want people to be prepared.

“If the soaring temperatures do lead to us having to put in place slower speeds for safety reasons, please bear with us while our engineers work to fix the problem. It may mean some journeys take longer.

“For those who must travel by rail, we’d remind people to carry water so they don’t get too parched, and always check before travelling so they know exactly what to expect.”

Nick King, network services director at Network Rail, added: “Keeping passengers safe and moving are our top priorities during this heatwave.

“That’s why we sometimes have to put speed restriction on to prevent our rails – that can be over 20 degrees hotter than air temperatures – from buckling which can derail a train and cause huge delays.

“Passengers should check before they travel, by visiting their train operator’s website or National Rail Enquiries.”

For more information on how Network Rail deals with the hot weather visit

Passengers are also advised to check before they travel at

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