Network Rail paints tracks white ahead of record UK heat wave

Network Rail is painting the tracks white as soaring temperatures threaten to flare up and misalign the tracks. Take a look below:

In a process called ‘stressful’, railway workers had to go out to paint the tracks white to avoid ‘warped rails’

Warped rails occur when rails expand under heat and become misaligned. In severe circumstances, warped rails have led to train derailments, which can be disastrous when trains are traveling at high speed.

According to the network, “stress” can lower the temperature of the tracks by 5°C to 10°C.

The Great British service has “mini weather stations” and thousands of ground probes to monitor local conditions along the railway line.

It will also introduce speed restrictions during the hottest hours of the day, especially in vulnerable places.

“Slower trains exert lower forces on the track and reduce the likelihood of buckling,” he said.

Railway tracks are at risk of “burning out” due to extremely high temperatures. Credit: Alamy

Network Rail also reassures travelers that most of its tracks are made of long rails welded together which are much less likely to warp in the heat. Any track with shorter rails bolted together has gaps so it can safely extend.

The Met Office issued a red extreme heat warning for the first time on Monday and Tuesday, with parts of England expected to reach a scorching 40C. The highest warning means there is a risk for life and regular routines will be disrupted.

It comes as Network Rail has warned rail passengers to avoid travel during peak heatwaves in the coming days. For those traveling, it is recommended to wear cool clothes, bring portable fans, and carry plenty of water.

South Western Railway said the speed restrictions would particularly affect its services.

Avanti West Coast also issued a notice to customers advising them to board only “if absolutely necessary” on Monday and Tuesday, due to “train crew shortages” alongside the heat warning.

Hit by a perfect storm, railway unions announced new strikes in July and August. Workers at Network Rail and 14 train operators are set to strike for two consecutive days in August over wages and conditions. Its workers will also organize strikes on July 27.

Train drivers from eight rail companies will also strike on July 30 over a wage dispute.

It follows the walkout of thousands of rail operators and railway workers in a nationwide strike last month.

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