Extreme temperatures are not only dangerous for the humans and other animals, but are also detrimental to the infrastructure of an area. After hearing about the missing planes and terrible car accidents along the road, one imagines that taking the train might be a safer option. However, this video below will surely change your viewpoint.
Fortunately, all the passengers in this train, heading towards Melbourne, remained safe and sound. Thankfully, the train only wobbled viciously and didn’t tip over completely. This incredible mess was created by a phenomenon known as ‘railway buckling’.
Buckling occurs when temperature rises and the steel tracks start to expand. This is not any regular expansion. According to the report, a 1800-foot long rail will expand almost one foot with a 80-degree Fahrenheit change in temperature.
This thermal expansion applies internal stress on the ties, ballasts, and breaks tracks’ connection with the ground. Eventually, the track buckles under the stress, forming “sun kinks.”
In this photo from July 24, 1978, an extremely buckled rail track near Asbury Park, New Jersey tipped over a passenger car, as visible in the background.
To prevent such accidents, rail networks require all trains to reduce their speeds when the temperature reaches 90 degrees or above. There are also regular maintenance and inspection programs to analyze the rail tracks.
Buckling can also occur due to the friction of the speeding tyres of the trains passing over the rails. The heat produced between the metal-to-metal friction is very high, and it can also lead to buckling. Yes, it happens in an instant, not over a long period of time.
Have you ever seen any buckled train track in your life? Comment below!