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Extreme weather steam trains

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Header -extreme -weather -trainsContinuing our theme of climate and weather (in the last post we spoke to our Head Gardener Jaime Blake about how climate change affects gardening) this post we’re going to take a look at trains in extreme weather!

What countries have the most extreme weather?

Before we start it’s useful to have an idea of what is meant by “extreme weather” and what makes it different from just “bad” weather.

Wikipedia has a fascinating (and slightly frightening!) page which lists the countries of the world by their risk of natural disaster, scored using the World Risk Index (A system created by the United Nations University).

The list goes from dark green (low risk) to dark red (high risk) places the UK at position 41 (out of 173) - Qatar comes out least at risk and Republic of Vanuatu, a South Pacific island, comes out most likely to suffer natural disasters

None of this is to be believed if you read this rather silly list however which tells us what we all already know which is the UK has the worst weather in the world!

Extreme Cold Trains

This exhaustive research didn’t come to much since Qatar, no stranger to extremely hot weather, has no trains what so ever - we’ve also found no evidence that Vanuata (which is tiny) has any trains either!

What we did find was some amazing images and videos of extreme cold trains with snow plough. In particular if you have time there is some amazing vintage footage of Trains plowing through deep snow in the American documentary from 1952.

It features a snow plough that looks like something out of a Steampunk novel with a massive rotating fan!

The Rotary plough also appears on this collection of photo of trains with snow plows, as well as the very imposing Wedge plough design:

1-2-extreme -weather -train


2-2-extreme -weather -train

3-2-extreme -weather -train

4-2-extreme -weather -train

Trains in extreme heat and extreme… um.. Wet.

Arguably even more challenging for trains than extreme cold is extreme heat - Countries like Australia face these sorts of problems regularly instituting speed restrictions.

When the track temperature of a line reaches 55 degrees or higher, the maximum speed limit is restricted to 80km/h. The tracks can expand and possibly buckle in extreme temperatures and trains must travel at slower speeds to ensure customer safety.

Even if the temperature reaches a lowly(!?) 42 degrees and above, the maximum speed limit is reduced to 70km/h.

Having covered the effects of cold and heat comes rain - nowhere is this more of an issue than india where the heavy rains of monsoon season regularly affect train schedules.

It can, however, lead to amazing sites like the image below which is featured on a post 5 journeys to take during monsoon season!

5-bengaluru -goa -train

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By Alastair Baker at 27 Jan 2017, 00:00 AM