Mumbai: To Prevent Train Derailment, Leaves Used To Cool Tracks That Bent Due To Heat
A train derailment was prevented on Tuesday when tracks in Ambarnath-Badlapur section, Thane district were found to be buckled due to thermal expansion. As an emergency measure, leaves were placed on the tracks to cool them down. Rail traffic was affected for about 30 minutes and caused much rush in peak hour traffic.
“Tracks tend to expand due to excessive heat…we have asked the respective section controllers to conduct a survey of such tracks and take corrective action,” a senior railway official said, reported The Indian Express. Thane recorded heat of 36.5 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. The steel in tracks would have been about 40 degrees Celsius.
Buckling and Sun kinks
A train track is said to be buckled when it bulges slightly sideways or upwards. Sun-kinks are the more extreme form of this phenomenon where the tracks resemble a snake slithering towards its prey. All metals expand when heated and contract when cooled depending on their respective coefficients.
So, if train tracks are joined together without leaving any extra space to account for the expansion or if they are not adequately anchored they are prone to buckle or develop a sun-kink. With innovations in track-laying technology, instances of buckling have almost become negligible, but they can still happen in case of excessive temperature variations or due to insufficient ballast. Trains can usually run over a slightly buckled section if they are running slowly and passengers only feel a sudden sideways movement.
The Logical Indian take
With dreams of expensive bullet trains, Indian commuters are bound to feel short-changed as the rail network is still unable to handle all demand. Routine check is needed to prevent tracks from buckling in the heat.