Scott Shenk writes about transportation issues affecting Fredericksburg-area residents.
VRE and heat restrictions–blame it on the sun kinks
The past few scorching days have made for longer Virginia Railway Express rides home for local commuters, as the trains have speed restrictions on hot days. It’ll be more of the same today with the temperature climbing into the 90s.
Why do the trains have to go slower, you ask?
Blame the sun, which can heat up the rails and make them “kink,” according to VRE.
“Under extreme heat,” according to VRE’s website, “the rail, on rare occasions, wins the expansion battle and a ‘sun kink’ results. A sun kink causes the track to shift laterally causing a curve in what is otherwise a straight pair of rails.” (Click here for the full explanation.)
On hot days, inspectors are sent out to look for signs of kinking in the rails. Most of the time, trains just have to slow down, but when kinks are found a track has to be taken out of service and repaired.
VRE also responded today in its Train Talk alert to riders who wondered why Fredericksburg trains seem to have more heat restrictions than Manassas lines. Here’s what VRE said:
As an aside, some have asked “Why are there only restrictions on the Fredericksburg Line?” Well, Manassas trains do have to adhere to heat-related speed restrictions from L’Enfant to Alexandria (when they are on CSX territory), but the delay is so minimal that the padding built into the schedules cancels out the delay. Since the Fredericksburg Line trains traverse only on CSX territory, they are subject to restrictions their whole trip. The CSX territory that we travel on has much more train traffic than the Norfolk Southern rails we operate on. More traffic means the rails get much hotter and are more likely to get a “sun kink,” which is one of the things engineers are looking out for when operating the train during heat restrictions. Hopefully that clears up the issue for those who were wondering.
1. Be respectful. No personal attacks.
2. Please avoid offensive, vulgar, abusive, hateful or defamatory language.
3. Read and follow THE RULES.
4. Please notify us by flagging posts that are inappropriate.
Posts that include links, and posts from users with unverified e-mail addresses may take longer to appear.