Belfast Telegraph

Orange army working 'day and night' to prevent train delays in cold snap

Thousands of rail engineers are working "day and night" in an attempt to prevent the cold snap from causing train delays, Network Rail (NR) has said.

The so-called "orange army" have been deployed to keep tracks clear of sleet, snow and ice as temperatures plummet.

The work is particularly important in stopping ice from forming on the conductor rail as that can block the power supply to trains.

Heating strips and anti-icing fluid are also used to prevent this from happening.

Weather organisation MeteoGroup warned that there will be widespread frost across Britain in the coming days, with temperatures as low as minus 7C (19F) in parts of Scotland.

NR - which is responsible for tracks, tunnels and level crossings - has a special fleet of trains fitted with snowploughs, hot air blowers, steam jets and anti-freeze to tackle the conditions.

Helicopters fitted with thermal imaging cameras and remote monitors are used to identify problems with heaters built to protect moving sections of track.

NR is also working alongside rail operators to run empty trains throughout the night to clear tracks ahead of the morning rush-hour.

An NR spokesman said: "With temperatures set to drop below zero across the country this week, thousands of our people will be patrolling the tracks day and night to clear snow and ice and keep passengers moving.

"More than four million people and thousands of businesses rely on our network every day, so it's vital we do all we can to provide a safe, reliable railway for passengers and freight whatever the weather."

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