Update: As of 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, Trinity Railway Express trains are running 15 to 20 minutes behind schedule. Train operators are being warned to slow down in the corridor between Fort Worth and Dallas, because the intense heat can warp the railroad tracks, a Dallas Area Rapid Transit official said in an email. Riders can expect delayed trains for the rest of the afternoon. -- Gordon.
Trinity Railway Express trains could be forced to run at slower speeds again today because of the potential for the intense midday heat to warp the railroad tracks, officials warned.
TRE directed its train operators to reduce their maximum speed to 60 mph, down from the usual 79 mph, between Fort Worth and Dallas between 3 and 7 p.m. Monday. A similar restriction could be placed on the rail line Tuesday, and possibly Wednesday. However, as of 1:15 p.m. the trains were still running on schedule.
"We've been monitoring the tracks ever since we started having consecutive 100-degree days," said Joan Hunter, Fort Worth Transportation Authority spokeswoman.
She said the speed restrictions are put into place whenever the ambiant temperature in TRE's operating area hits 110 degrees, or whenever the temperature on the tracks themselves hits 140 degrees.
On Monday, the temperature on the tracks hit 137 degrees early in the afternoon, and TRE officials began announcing to passengers that the trains would likely experience delays throughout the afternoon.
The delays could cause some TRE passengers to miss their bus transfers in Fort Worth, or light-rail connections in Dallas. However, officials noted that the delays likely would occur during peak periods of the day, when light-rail lines are running every 4 minutes in Dallas and buses are stopping every 10 minutes on major routes in Fort Worth.
The T hasn't received any formal complaints from passengers about the delayed trains, Hunter said.
Photo: Am Iowa sun kink in '09.