Today trains were delayed to and from Liverpool Street Station after a man was struck by a train at Brentwood station. The man walked away from the incident, but it lead to delays of an hour for many commuters during rush hour. However, often delays are due to a range of other causes. The following article from Ian Pearce at Arbilrail explains the reasons for some of the more common train delays.
What Really Causes Train Delays?
So it’s Monday morning, and it’s back to dreaded work. You’ve got up late and haven’t had your morning coffee …and now just to top it off, your train is yet again delayed. You may be wondering what is causing your train to be delayed again, and there are various different reasons to what is causing your train to be delayed.
Whether it is hot, cold or rainy, each one of these will cause your train to be delayed. So to be honest, you can’t really win. When the weather is hot it can cause the overhead wires to sag due to the heat making them expand. Trains have to be slowed down in this case to prevent the trains getting tangled up in the drooping wires.
So now the opposite, when the weather is frosty cold, this can also cause train delays. When the weather is below freezing and ice is formed on the tracks, this can cause havoc for people trying to commute on the trains. Trains are regularly delayed in the freezing cold weather, as basically it is just not safe for trains to be on the tracks going at the normal speed limit. Just as you would drive slower in ice and snow in a car, a train, believe it or not has to do the same.
Before trains go out to collect you and bring you to your next destination, it is important that rails are safe for you to travel on. Some natural causes can cause delays such as obstructions on the railway line. If there are obstructions on the railway line, this will cause a delay whilst railway workers have to be on the track to sort the problem out safely.
Maintenance on the railway line is also very important, cleaning and maintenance of the tracks happens regularly and mostly overnight so it doesn’t affect your journeys through the day. But sometimes, problems may occur where some of the track needs to be tested during the day to ensure that it is safe for trains to continue travelling on the lines, this will cause delays whilst railway workers carry out rail safety procedures.
There are a variety of other reasons that can cause train delays, this could be due to a train which has broken down on the same track as you. So you will have to wait for that train to be recovered or fixed before the same track is used.
Some other causes can be natural such as the more recent landslide on to the track in Cardiff. However other reasons for delays can be more dangerous such as people being spotted on railway lines will cause delays.
Ian Pearce works as part of a rail safety team to ensure that all trains are safe to travel on. For more information go to www.arbilrail.co.uk/