Remote monitoring and rails painted white to keep railway moving amidst heatwave

Network Rail

REMOTE monitoring equipment is amongst a series of measures being deployed on Scotland’s railway to ensure rail travel can continue amidst the heatwave.

Network Rail explained that rails in direct sunshine can be as much as 20°C hotter than the air temperature and expand as they get warmer – sometimes causing them to curve or buckle.

The organisation’s engineers have been ‘artificially stretching’ sections of tracks in known hot-spot areas to help them cope with sudden rises in temperatures, as well as painting rails white at key locations to help reflect the sun and keep them up to 10°C cooler.

Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said, “Our engineers will be out throughout the weekend and into next week monitoring rail temperatures and working hard to keep customers on the move. Heat can create real challenges for the railway, causing rails to expand and buckle, overhead lines to sag and surrounding land to dry out, making our tracks more susceptible to flooding once the weather breaks.

“We’re urging passengers to plan their journeys carefully, especially on cross-border routes as temperatures in England and Wales will be even more extreme than those we will face in Scotland.”