CZ/SK verze

Severe Frosts Hit Slovakia; Railways Struggle

Severe Frosts Hit Slovakia; Railways Struggle
photo: Petr Beránek / Flickr/Cog Railway Nr.905 951-0
15 / 01 / 2024

Severe frosts have hit Slovakia, potentially causing significant problems on the railways. What should passengers expect during this period? Read all about it in our article.

What problems is the Slovak railway facing during the frost?

In recent days, Slovakia has experienced intense frosts. The Slovak Railways (ŽSR) reported rail breaks in the sections Vydrník - Poprad-Tatry, Východná - Štrba, Markušovce - Spišské Vlachy, and Radvaň - Vlkanová over the last several hours.

Strong winds continue to blow across the territory, leading to reduced train speeds in some railway sections. The ŽSR spokeswoman noted that switches at some stations were frozen. According to the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute, the temperature at the Červený Kláštor station in the Kežmarok district reached -24 degrees Celsius.

Jozef Fekete / Flickr

High frosts and strong winds can lead to various technical problems, such as the freezing of technological parts of locomotives and wagons. Such frozen carriages must be removed from the train and replaced, which invariably leads to train delays, a common occurrence in Slovakia. Freezing temperatures can cause track breakages, or cracks, in several areas of Slovakia. When this happens, trains must temporarily pass through these sections with significant restrictions, leading to further delays.

A rail fracture is a crack through the entire profile that disrupts the track's continuity, posing a safety hazard for train passage. The angle and length of the fracture determine the appropriate repair method, which may be emergency, temporary, or definitive.

Robert Pojtek / Flickr

Track breaks most often occur in the early morning hours when frost is at its worst. However, railway workers employ a specialized inspection system during both summer and winter to detect any rail damage.

Interesting Fact from the World

Sweden, a country known for its green forests and lakes, has recently experienced a temperature shock. Swedish trains, designed to operate down to -30 degrees, could not run at the beginning of the year due to the extreme cold. Inhabitants of the Nordic countries have faced tremendous temperature drops in recent days, with meteorologists recording -44 degrees Celsius in northern Sweden and Finland. Interestingly, a few days later, when temperatures significantly dropped across Europe, Scandinavia experienced a warm-up of up to 50 degrees in some areas.