Do trains run when it is raining?

Perhaps your friend told you that his train trip was cancelled due to heavy raining and now you are confused, asking yourself if trains run when it’s raining.

Short answer: Trains do run when it’s raining.

Do trains run when it is raining?

Longer answer might be a little bit more complicated, however I’ll keep it short.

How does raining affect the train travel?

Trains travel through snow, rain, high temperatures, blizzards… you got the point, bad weather doesn’t make the railroad workers pack-up the rail tracks in a giant garage until it goes away.

However, when the weather is extreme, like flooding due to rain, or huge amounts of snow on tracks, extreme heat or high winds that can affect traction and/or visibility the train trip can suffer delays and/or cancellations. 

For rain, trains are equipped with windshields, which is enough to provide the locomotive engineer with a good enough visibility so it can operate the train safely.

The engineer, helped by the dispatcher will assess the raining conditions and they will follow safety protocols that are in place. 

Many railroads use all sorts of software that provide weather information in real time. 

The software will issue warnings for rain, snow, heat, flooding and other extreme weather conditions.

Rain will affect the operations schedule but in most of the cases it won’t cancel the trip. Slower speeds due to poor visibility and poor traction will delay a trip.

Just as any vehicle traveling on wet surfaces, train's braking distance is greater than on dry surfaces. Due to this, the travel speed will be restricted to a lower speed when it is raining or when the tracks are wet.

Do trains travel through flooding water?

Heavy rains can lead to flooding, and these can lead to greater problems.

Floods in most of the cases will delay a train trip. Trains are not meant to ride tracks that are submerged in water. 

Flood water can wash stones on the tracks, damage electric motors or wash away ballast sand creating a weakness in the track line.

Most of the railroads have teams ready to respond to any weather related issue. 

Also it is very important to mention that subways or trains/trams that travel underground are not affected by rain.