Speed restrictions

We know the last thing you want to hear is your service has to slow down due to a speed restrictions, but we only use them when we have to.

Why we slow trains down

We know it’s the last thing anyone wants to hear but there are some reasons why we might have to put speed restrictions in place.

  • If it’s very hot – railway tracks can heat up to 50 degrees and risk buckling – which is unsafe for trains to pass over. By slowing trains down, they exert lower forces on the track, reducing the chance of this happening.
  • Sagging overhead wires – the heat can cause overhead wires to sag, so trains have to be slowed down so they don’t damage them.
  • Extreme cold – we use speed restrictions to reduce the risks of trains missing their stop or passing signals (for example due to ice on the tracks), risking passenger safety.
  • Worn-out track – just like road surfaces, track gets worn from constant use every day. Track that is too worn risks failing under the stress of trains passing over it, so services can sometimes be slowed down until we can renew the tracks. For example, a rail may break – which we can clamp as a temporary repair, but we have to slow trains down to make sure it doesn’t break further, and you can complete your journey safely.
  • A few more reasons for unplanned slow downs – vegetation obstructing signals, earth moving near or under the track, or bridge defects all require trains to slow down.

Planned speed restrictions

Sometimes, we have to plan speed restrictions too, such as after we’ve replaced tracks.

When we’ve laid new track, the line reopens at slower speeds because the ground under the track needs to ‘bed in’ and stabilise – it’s a lot safer for the track to settle with trains running at slower speeds.

Keeping you safe

We don’t like to have to slow your journeys down and do everything we can do get you moving again – safely and on time.

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