Lancashire's summer heatwave could "flex, bend, and buckle" train tracks, Network Rail warns

High temperatures increase the risk of buckled railway tracks.
High temperatures increase the risk of buckled railway tracks.
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Network Rail have warned passengers that the heatwave in Lancashire could make train tracks buckle.

With UK heat records expected to be broken tomorrow, July 25, Network Rail activated its extreme weather response teams in the North West.

A photo of buckled tracks from 2018.

A photo of buckled tracks from 2018.

The hot weather, particularly direct sunlight, can cause track temperatures to rise to more than 50°C.

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When steel becomes very hot it expands and rails can bend, flex and, in serious cases, buckle. As a precaution, trains have to run at slower speeds.

Railway staff were today preparing for this challenge on lines across the UK.

Between 2003 and 2018 Network Rail have reduced the incidence of buckled rails by 83%.

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 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 some water with them so they don’t get too parched, and always check before travelling so they know exactly what to expect.”