“Better to have a potential five- to 10-minute delay than to have a train overheat,” Fort Worth Transportation Authority spokeswoman Joan Hunter said. “It’s a preventive measure. If we didn’t slow them down during consecutive days of hot temperature buildup above 100 degrees, the engines could overheat because the radiators can’t cool the system fast enough.”
An 18-day streak of triple-digit heat in Dallas-Fort Worth ended Wednesday, but a new streak was expected to begin Thursday, with a forecast high of 102.
Train operators have sporadically slowed down TRE trains running between downtown Fort Worth and Dallas several times since Aug. 6, and may have to do so again in the coming days as temperatures continue to soar, Hunter said. When the slowdowns occur, riders are given a heads-up on the public address system, she said.
Despite the inconvenience, it’s not as bad as it could be. In August 1998, 13 Union Pacific Railroad freight cars derailed in Watauga after extreme summer heat warped the tracks. No one was hurt, but a stretch of railing had to be replaced.
Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796