Train services on several main lines from London have been suspended or are very limited today, because of the danger of rails being distorted by the heat.
Forecasters have issued a red warning of extreme heat in parts of England, and Network Rail has upgraded its advice to DO NOT TRAVEL.
The East Coast Main Line will be closed to traffic south of York, and there will also be no Thameslink or Great Northern trains running north of London. There will be a ‘very limited’ service on East Midlands Railway to London, but there will be no trains running between midday and 19.00.
Network Rail has also warned that services from London Euston and London Marylebone will be ‘very limited and disrupted’.
A number of distorted rails and failing sections of OHLE were found by track inspection teams yesterday, and today’s heat may be even greater. Rail temperatures have been reaching 55C or more, and the record so far was reached in Suffolk yesterday with a temperature of 62C. Severe speed restrictions are being imposed again today where trains do run. Only ’critical’ freight trains are being permitted, and these will also run at reduced speeds.
Network Rail operations director Jake Kelly said: ‘We have not taken the decision lightly to upgrade our travel advice to “do not travel” if heading north out of London. Please replan your journey as there will either be no services or very disrupted services. Any journey within the Met.Office’s “red-zone” is going to be long, disrupted and uncomfortable so, with free refunds or ticket swaps available, our best advice is to stay home and replan your journey. Do not try to travel by rail within the “red-zone”.’
Network Rail added that the warm night meant rails could not cool down enough, which is why today’s restrictions are starting earlier in the day.