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Schoolgirls solve track problems

RAIL DELAYS outside London's Kings Cross station should be cut this summer, thanks to pioneering work by four London students.

Busy points outside the station should soon be fitted with a prototype device, designed by the girls from Channing House School in Highgate, to cool the delicate rails and stop them failing.

The girls tackled the overheating problem as part of an A-level project. It occurs in the summer along the short section of track where the lines from the station's 11 platforms converge.

Trapped hot air causes the points to heat past 60degreesC and expand beyond operational settings, triggering a failure.

Working in partnership with maintenance contractor Balfour Beatty, the students came up with a low cost device which blows cold compressed air through a perforated hollow box section laid next to the affected switch rail.

Nigel Keightly of Balfour Beatty, who helped the girls throughout the project, confirmed: 'Results from the prototype are encouraging enough for us to start building a full scale model, which will be ready for the hot summer weather.'

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