Dallas is so hot right now the DART light rail has to go slower

If you’re in a rush to get somewhere, then DART Rail isn’t your best bet for the next day or two.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is implementing speed restrictions on its light rail service between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. through Wednesday, July 20, according to a statement.

Light rail vehicles will not travel faster than 30 miles per hour during this time. DART light rail passengers should expect delays of 10-15 minutes due to these speed restrictions.

The slowdown is due to record temperatures in northern Texas, which are expected to last for the next few days according to the National Weather Service.

When many miles of rail are subjected to intense heat, the rail becomes hot, which can cause them to increase in length and can develop bowing known as a “sun kink” or “heat kink”.

“Right now we’re seeing temperatures between 145 and 150 degrees on the rail,” a DART spokesperson said. “This can lead to warping of the rails and sagging of the catenaries.”

When temperatures hit 100 degrees or more, it’s not uncommon for transit agencies to reduce train speeds to no more than 35 mph.

According CNN, the United States is experiencing a dangerous heat wave that is expected to affect much of the country, with more than 100 million people under excessive heat warnings or heat advisories as of July 19. A third of the US population is under heat advisories and excessive heat warnings on July 19 and 20, with more than 80% of the population (about 265 million Americans) seeing a high above 90 degrees during the next seven days.

The above average heat is expected to continue through at least Sunday, with each day hitting the triple digit mark.

DART will continue to monitor weather conditions in the North Texas region for the safety of our passengers and employees, and to determine if future speed restrictions will be necessary.

Riders can stay informed of service changes by signing up for DART Alerts at www.dart.org, or by contacting DART Customer Information at (214) 979-1111.

Jose P. Rogers