How strong winds can cause delays - and what the industry is doing to reduce them
High winds can blow debris and trees from the trackside and from neighbouring land onto the track. If a train hits any debris it could cause a derailment.
Overhead power lines sway in high winds and can tangle around a train’s pantograph (which allows it to draw power from the overhead lines), pulling the lines down. When this occurs trains are unable to run and services may be re-routed.
What the industry is doing to reduce delays caused by high winds
- Teams inspect the track on foot, removing dead and diseased trees and any vegetation from railway land that is at risk of coming into contact with the overhead power lines
- Reducing the distance between supports for overhead power lines at locations prone to high winds
- When wind gusts of 60-69 mph are forecasted, trains slow down to allow drivers time to stop if they see an obstruction on the track
- When high winds are expected, a cross-industry Extreme Weather Action Team meets to agree a revised timetable which can be safely and reliably delivered