Image above: Library picture SWR train
Luton airport cancels flights; Gatwick Express trains also cancelled
Luton airport has suspended all departures and arrivals to allow for “an essential runway repair after high surface temperatures caused a small section to lift.”
The Gatwick Express has been suspended and there will be no Thameslink services from Kings Cross or Moorgate on Tuesday (19 July). LNER has also cancelled all afternoon and early evening trains on Tuesday, as temperatures soar.
Transport operators serving London have urged customers only to travel if “absolutely necessary” during the record-breaking temperatures forecast for this week. The Met Office issued a red weather warning for extreme heat in parts of the country on Monday and Tuesday, with temperatures forecast to reach as high as 40°C in some areas, including London.
Very hot temperatures can affect rails, overhead power lines and signalling equipment. Track temperature checks are being carried out regularly across the Tube and rail networks to ensure they remain safe and that the track is not at risk of bending or buckling.
Network Rail and Transport for London have placed speed restrictions across the capital’s train network to ensure the safe running of trains, which could lead to significant disruption to services. Operators have issued revised timetables for their services.
Image above: Northfields Train Depot
Only 40% Tube trains have air conditioning
Transport for London is advising customers who do decide to travel to check their journeys before travelling and to ensure they are well-prepared, wearing cool clothes, taking handheld fans and ensuring they have plenty of water to drink. ‘Vulnerable passengers and those with health conditions should avoid travelling on these days.’
Great Western Railway and South Western Railway are allowing people with tickets to trave Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 July to use their tickets instead on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 July, when the temperatures are expected to be cooler.
TfL say they are working hard to keep as many services running as possible. They are inspecting the air conditioning units on the Tube trains that have them.
Only 40 per cent of the Tube network has air conditioning. While trains on newer services such as the Elizabeth Line have it, on older lines such as the Piccadilly and Central lines there is none, a fact picked picked picked up by the New York Times today under the headline ‘England’s transportation network strains under the heat.’
Image above: Library image, train tracks in a hot summer
Expect short-notice cancellations and disruption, says SWR
The speed restrictions on South Western Railway, which services Chiswick station, will particularly affect mainline services, with long-distance services to Exeter, Salisbury, Bournemouth, Weymouth, Southampton and Portsmouth most likely to be affected.
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.
“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.”
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