according to the BBC
today’s record heat is causing problems:
“Heat caused railway lines to buckle in the Midlands on Tuesday and many services from New Street Station in Birmingham were cancelled. Speed restrictions were in force on the West Coast Main Line”
but it was only 36 degrees! (=97 F)
Now, I know the Brits aren’t used to such heat—but, gee whiz, most of the civilized world is used to it. And the steel in the railroad tracks can’t be that much different from the steel used in American railroads. Yes, I know that engineers design to meet local code requirements, which are based on local weather conditions. But there is always a factor of safety. Usually, engineers make their calculations to withstand double the expected strain. So you would think that the engineers allowed for heat expansion when they designed the steel rails.
I know a bit about concepts like coefficient of expansion, design loads, deflection, the stress-strain curves. (Well, actually, I’ve forgotten whatever I once knew, but I can still use a few fancy words …
so—my question for civil engineers is:
Why did 36 degree heat cause so many problems? Would the tracks have withstood, say, 35.5 degrees with no problem? And aren’t train tracks pretty much the same all over the world?