Excessive heat may cause travel delays

July 4, 2013 12:19:05 AM PDT
Traveling by train this holiday? Don't be surprised if you're delayed because of the heat. Federal regulations require that Amtrak slows down in excessive heat.

Amtrak calls it "heat restrictions." The trains reduce their speeds when the weather rises to a certain temperature, which means there could be delays anywhere from 5 minutes, to a half hour.

At the Downtown Fresno station, we met Joseph Rea, a frequent rider who uses Amtrak to see family in Southern California, but this time, it's the holiday weather that's sending him out of town.

"Basically to get away from this heat," said Rea. "I'm used to it but I'm taking two and three showers a day I'd rather just go over there."

Rea says he's been on board when the train slows down. "It goes slower maybe when another train is coming, or like you said, the weather."

An Amtrak spokeswoman says the heat could cause the tracks to kink or sometimes even buckle which could cause the train to derail. Depending on where you're going and when you're traveling you could be delayed as those temperatures start climbing.

Those who aren't taking to the rail are getting behind the wheel this holiday.

"It's too hot! The valley's way too hot we gotta escape the heat", said Galahad Sinense.

He his families are headed to the coast to get away from the triple digits.

The Dinuba resident said, "We're just gonna through out there a couple days, till Saturday, hopefully beat the heat."

Not everyone is so lucky. One Visalia family couldn't get reservations in time and are driving back to Visalia from the coast just as the temperatures drive up. "Disgusting. I could feel the sun burning through the skin on my back."

It's all relative right? Tucson resident Vicente Martinez says our triple digits are nothing compared to what it's like in Arizona. "This is nicer than Tucson, this is not hot to me."

By wheel, or by rail it's one hot holiday, which means, give yourself some more time for your travels.

If you're driving, a reminder from the highway patrol, maximum enforcement starts on Wednesday night, which means extra officers will be on extra patrol.


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