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Extreme Heat to Cause Rail Disruption

Published on: 16 Jul, 2022
Updated on: 18 Jul, 2022

Network Rail has urged rail customers across the country to only travel if absolutely necessary on Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 July due to forecasts of extreme heat.

Temperatures are expected to reach up to 40°C in London and the surrounding area, and the mid-30s in the western parts of our network. As rail temperatures can be up to 20°C higher than the air around them, there is a risk of them buckling in the extreme heat.

As a result, Network Rail will introduce speed restrictions across the network to minimise the force on the tracks and reduce the chance of buckling. These speed restrictions are expected to make journeys longer and South Western Railway will introduce a reduced service on Monday and Tuesday in a bid to give customers certainty on what will run.

The speed restrictions will particularly affect its mainline services, with long-distance services to Exeter, Salisbury, Bournemouth, Weymouth, Southampton and Portsmouth most likely to be impacted.

Extreme Heat Warning – Met Office Map

In a press release, a SWR spokesperson said: “Service changes are likely to appear in journey planners at short notice, so anyone who chooses to travel despite the warnings on Monday or Tuesday is urged to check their journey before setting off and to expect last minute delays and cancellations.”

the rail companies are also urging passengers to carry water, to cover up and to wear sunscreen when travelling.

SWR’s customer experience director, Christian Neill, said: “These unprecedented temperatures will pose a significant challenge to the national railway infrastructure and we’re sorry for the impact they will have on our services on Monday and Tuesday.

“Network Rail is urging customers to only travel if absolutely necessary and anyone who has to travel should expect longer journey times, short-notice cancellations and disruption.

“We are working on a reduced timetable that provides certainty for our customers, but changes are likely to come at relatively short notice, so if you do choose to travel, please check your journey as close to your time of travel as possible.”

SWR is allowing people with tickets for travel on its services on Monday and Tuesday to travel on Wednesday and Thursday instead but the original ticket restrictions will still apply. Those using an Advance Purchase ticket, are advised to travel as close to the original departure time as possible.

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