Rail operator restricts train speeds amid searing temperatures

Rail journeys are being disrupted by the hot weather as train speeds are reduced to stop tracks from buckling.

Chiltern Railways trains between London and Oxford are being rescheduled between noon and 6pm each day until Friday because of high track temperatures.

Trains from Oxford will depart 10 minutes earlier than normal, while those arriving in Oxford are expected to be 10 minutes late.

Speed restrictions were also introduced by Northern on Tuesday and Greater Anglia on Monday because of the soaring temperatures.

Cutting the speed of trains reduces the forces they exert on the track, making it less likely to buckle.

A buckled rail usually causes delays and cancellations as the line needs to be closed while engineers wait until the temperature drops to carry out repairs.

A spokeswoman for Network Rail, the Government-owned company responsible for maintaining Britain's rail infrastructure, said: "On very sunny days, rails in direct sunshine can be as much as 20C above air temperature causing the steel to expand markedly and could, if not carefully monitored and action taken, buckle causing travel disruption.

"Our engineers and specialist extreme weather teams are monitoring track-side temperatures and vulnerable locations and will, if necessary, introduce temporary speed restrictions during the hottest part of the day to keep trains running, albeit more slowly than normal."

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