An alternative model for the one-way buckling of thermally compressed subsea pipelines is briefly described and shown to provide very close agreement with a new, more precise analysis. Compared with past analyses of the problem the present approach is shown to have considerable practical advantages. First, it is based upon staightforward physical concepts and involves little analytical ... [Show full abstract] complexity. Second, even for the situation in which the pipeline contains initial imperfections resulting from the lay process, the approach provides very simple and explicit analytical expressions for both upper and lower bounds of the buckling loads. As a consequence, this new and simplified method recommends itself as a practical basis for both future design and in-service strength assessment.