It’s Summer. When Summer rolls around, so does the heat. The dreaded heat is every traveler’s worst obstacle. The heat can be the most troublesome obstacle for all travelers alike. However, it does take an unexpected toll on Amtrak passengers. Heat plays its tricks on the traveling public in a multitude of ways. Travelers should have no doubt that rail travel, especially via Amtrak, can be affected by the heat. In what ways can Amtrak routes, stations, and operations be affected by heat? How can Amtrak passengers combat these obstacles? Amtrak passengers don’t have to look far and won’t have to suffer the stress of heat any longer.

3) Additional beverages: On any Amtrak train, the cafe car is every passenger’s best friend. There are scores of cold beverages for Amtrak passengers to choose from. Once passengers have boarded the train, passengers are sure to breathe a sigh of relief. Having escaped the heat and humidity outside is a blessing. It’s time to finally rest and relax. Well, not so fast! Before getting comfortable, passengers should make their way to the cafe car. It’s best to purchase beverages that have no sugar or alcohol content. Further, with summer heat and humidity being a factor, it’s paramount for all Amtrak passengers to take along an insulated cooler bag. Inside the insulated cooler bag, passengers should pack an assortment of additional beverages. Again, additional beverages must not have any sugar or alcohol. Bottled water, sparkling water, or seltzer are perfect for the journey. Thirst quenchers like Powerade and Gatorade should also be packed. Should the heat and humidity be an issue for the return trip, passengers should do the same. The cafe car is great, but Amtrak passengers must be aware that supplies can run low. Bringing additional beverages makes a significant difference.

2) Staying indoors: No matter where in the country, heat can do its damage. Even humidity can take a toll on travelers’ bodies. At all Amtrak stations, big or small, staying indoors is paramount. Reverting back to #3, bringing additional beverages comes in handy. Should Amtrak passengers run low on the beverages in their insulated cooler bag, it’s vital that they go to any shop in the station to reload on beverages. Again, such beverages must be free of sugar and alcohol. This also comes in handy when there are reported delays on the rails. At no time should passengers venture outside. For safety precautions, passengers should stay indoors. The longer passengers need to wait, it’s very likely they’ll need to keep on drinking fluids. When contending with the heat, passengers should take the healthiest precaution. This means staying indoors. Further, drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated are the way to go. On any hot and humid travel day, staying indoors is a healthy decision when riding the rails. That and keeping hydrated go a long distance.

1) Track temperature: During the summer, Amtrak passengers and commuter rail passengers alike don’t pay much attention to this matter. What’s the reason? The reason is because it doesn’t affect them physiologically. Candidly, heat can take its toll on the tracks themselves. Track temperature is too a serious obstacle faced on the railroad. Excessive heat can result in dangerous track temperature. Heat can put excessive stress on the rails. Heat can have several effects on train tracks, including¬†buckling and warping. Heat can also do damage to equipment. Trains run on steel tracks, which respond to changes in temperature. A safe track temperature means everything. Steel contracts in the cold, which could cause rails to pull apart.¬†Tracks expand in the heat, which can make the track buckle sideways. In railroad terms, this condition is known as a sun kink.

On Friday, June 7th, a New York-bound New Jersey Transit train pulled into Newark Penn Station. A fraction of the way leaving of the station, the train came to a halt. The signal turned horizontal red. Just behind it, an Amtrak Acela Express train pulled up behind it. Trains were piling up as far south as Newark International Airport Station. The train ahead of the New Jersey Transit train had broken down. Delays piled up quickly. In the U.S., most locomotives operate with diesel engines. Simultaneously, many electronic components on board contribute to high heat output. When heat takes its toll, engines can break down from overheating. To counteract this situation, PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) began cross honoring New Jersey Transit tickets. When it comes to heat, railroad employees and passengers have to work together to overcome it. When they do, much good does come of it. What can passengers do to combat this obstacle? First, of course, is keeping hydrated, and secondly and most important is to remain calm and patient. Just like the train crews remaining calm and patient, passengers must do likewise. Passengers should offer bottled water to train crews. This too is a situation where the insulated cooler bag serves as a vivacity. Heat inflicts a negative impact not just on the railroad, but on the body. Doing both go a long distance. Plus, they’re the difference between life and death.

It’s almost officially summer. The first day of summer may be imminent, but the heat and humidity are here to stay. There are days of dangerous heat and humidity ahead in the forecast. That being said, the traveling public must do their due diligence by being ultra prepared for nature’s wrath. Rain can do tremendous damage. Snow and sleet can do the same. Heat can do the most damage without warning. Heat dangerously affects passengers’ bodies, which prompts the need to stay hydrated. Heat can seriously affect the tracks, resulting in unsafe track temperature. Heat can greatly impact the railroad industry and Amtrak passengers all together. When traveling by train during the summer, Amtrak passengers must make good use of the cafe car. Purchasing beverages without sugar or alcohol content is a must. Amtrak passengers should not leave their home without an insulated cooler bag. In case the cafe car should run low on supplies, bringing additional beverages makes all the difference. At all stations, passengers should stay indoors until their train arrives. Lastly, the heat can tremendously impact locomotives, tracks, and equipment. Heat is among the most dangerous forces of nature. This will be a summer which Amtrak passengers will attain valuable health and travel lessons. As long as passengers counteract it with healthy thinking and common sense, the summer will be a season to remember.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at ProwsEdge.com, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, Whistlestop.Amtrak.com. David also writes for the publication Examiner.com. On Examiner.com, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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