Frost and ice
Falling temperatures can lead to frost and icy conditions that can cause issues for all modes of transport
As the temperature drops, the wintry spectacle of frost and ice can cause problems for the rail network, just as it can for your car.
On the railway, even the lightest shower of rain can freeze and become compacted on the rails, turning into dangerous ice. Not only does this freeze around the electric rail and create an insulating effect preventing trains from drawing power and being able to move with any speed – in the worst cases, it prevents them from being able to move at all.
Ice also causes points - which allow trains to move between tracks - to freeze solid. When this happens, trains can’t safely run over them. The couplers that join carriages together can also become iced up, making it difficult to join them together, or split them apart, reducing the number of trains we have available.
But we know you’ve got places to go.
When winter weather strikes, we run snow-and-ice-busting trains round the clock to keep you moving. These special trains are kitted out with anti-icing fluid, which works in a similar way to salt gritters on the road, preventing our electric rail from freezing in the first place.
We also fit certain points along the tracks, particularly in places where trains change direction to other lines, with heaters and insulation to further prevent ice build-up.
To try to keep disruptions to your journeys to a minimum, we may have to make some changes to our timetable when bad weather hits. Some services will be less frequent, and some stations may close, but this allows us to complete all the work needed to keep you moving, albeit a little slower than usual to keep you and our staff as safe as possible.
If the ground is icy underfoot, check before you travel and take extra care. Up-to-date information about our services is available on our live information page,our Southeastern app and Twitter @Se_Railway. Find out more about our winter weather plans.