Right out of line

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REGARDING your front page headline (10 July), as a former senior railway manager I find it unbelievable that we had all these delays caused by it being too hot and sunny on Tuesday.

What can our railway do to be the professional network it should be? Britain invented railways. If it’s too cold, too wet, too hot, or there are leaves on the line or the wrong type of snow our railways come to a standstill or go slow.

Network Rail worries about the rails becoming too hot then buckling in the heat, and so it imposes speed restrictions.

The accident at Motherwell station years ago when a Glasgow to London train derailed was thought to be caused by high rail temperatures.

Rails need to expand and contract in different temperatures. The old type of rails where 21ft in length and the joins allowed for expansion.

This was what created the distinctive noise that the old track made as trains travelled along.

Now on most main lines the rails are welded together but there are expansion areas set at intervals along the way. We call them breathers.

If Network Rail is concerned with rails buckling surely in the 21st century we can look at this issue and resolve it and keep trains moving at line speed in hot weather instead of thinking: “This only happens a few days of the year so let’s do nothing.”

We must look at how our railways cope through all types of weather. Last year ScotRail spent millions on snow preparation. There was no snow.

This time last year it was heavy rain that shut Edinburgh Waverley and Haymarket, with long delays and flooding in the tunnels.

If we can’t do something to help the railway infrastructure cope with the weather, we should help the travelling public cope with the delays.

This is an issue and a major problem that has plagued all travel companies: the lack of ability to inform the public in a professional manner about what is causing the delays and what is being done. They should tell the truth even if it’s not liked.

I still find unbelievable the lack of information given to the public when stations come to a standstill.

It happen all too frequently.

Edward Carr

Edinburgh Road

Perth