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How the weather affects the railway

Find out how weather conditions can cause delays, and see the steps we take to minimise disruptions together with Network Rail

To check the latest information on live running information. You can also check our Twitter page @TLRailUK

The hot weather can also affect the rails, which can expand, bend and even break in the heat.

We sometimes have to slow down trains to reduce pressure on parts of the line, which can disrupt services.

What we’re doing: Network Rail is on the case, and regularly repairs rails before the start of summer.

 

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Can’t stand the rain? Getting soggy or soaked to the skin is bad enough, but heavy rain can also lead to flooding and delays.

Flood water can damage equipment and cut power to the train, or wash away ballast (crushed stone) and weaken the track.

What we’re doing: Network Rail has flood defence teams and pumping stations ready to respond to any flood warnings. It has a programme of works aimed at flood prevention, for example by clearing drainage ditches and lifting up low-lying sections of track at risk from flooding.

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Fog can make it harder for our drivers to see signals, so they have to slow down to keep you safe. 

What we’re doing: We’re moving towards a new signalling system for inside the train cab, so our drivers won’t have to rely so much on outside signals.

Strong winds can blow branches, trees and debris onto the train track and pull down overhead power lines.

What we’re doing: Network Rail teams regularly inspect and clear the side of the track. And they’re reducing the gaps between the supports for overhead power lines in windy areas.

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Some like it hot, but it can sometimes be too much if you’re travelling in the summertime. 

While it’s very hot it’s worth carrying a bottle of water around with you when you travel.

If the heat gets to you, ask us for help at the station. 

What we’re doing: Luckily, most our trains have air conditioning. We’re also bringing in brand new air-conditioned trains on more of our routes over the next two years.
Our train services use a combination of overhead wires and electric third rails to take electricity and power. When it’s very cold, ice can build up on this equipment and cause problems, stopping the trains taking power like they normally would. Snow and ice also affect signalling points working as they should. This too can cause delays and disruption to train services.

We work very closely with Network Rail to minimise the impact seasonal weather has on your train service. Network Rail, who own and maintain the track, signalling equipment and power supplies have special rail cleaning trains which run every night in autumn and winter cleaning the tracks. They also remotely monitor the temperatures of their equipment and have several Snow and Ice Treatment trains.

For more information and to see what more Network Rail are doing to help this:

Leaf fall information

 

Snow and ice information

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