Page last updated at 10:25 GMT, Tuesday, 2 June 2009 11:25 UK

Heatwave may have derailed train

Soaring temperatures may have buckled a section of rail track in Cumbria, causing a passenger train to derail, officials have said.

None of the 15 passengers and two crew were hurt when the Northern Rail Whitehaven to Carlisle service came off the tracks at Low Mill on Monday.

Temperatures in the area reached 27.5C (78.2F) at the time of the accident.

But Network Rail said the temperature of the track itself could be 20 degrees hotter than the surrounding air.

The company said investigators would be looking into whether track buckled in the heat.

Officials from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) have also been informed.

Trackside checks

The single carriage train was travelling slower than 30mph (48km/h) on the coastal route, when the leading set of wheels left the track.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "The possibility that the track was affected by heat is one thing that will be looked at.

"The internal temperature of track can become very hot indeed after it is exposed to just a few hours of sustained heat from the sun.

"All track is tested before it is laid to ensure it can stand both heat and cold. But there has to be a balance, which is why regular trackside checks are carried out."

The line was reopened on Monday night after repairs were carried out.

The spokesman said ongoing checks were being made in areas of the country which were seeing high temperatures, to ensure the stability of tracks.

He said speed restrictions could be imposed in problem areas.

Print Sponsor

Roads melt as temperatures soar
18 Jul 06 |  England

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific