Transport buckles in the heat


Transport users have been advised against all but essential travel as networks in England and Wales face significant disruption from what are expected to be the highest temperatures recorded in the UK.

The Met Office has issued a red extreme heat warning for Monday (19 July) and Tuesday covering large parts of England, with temperatures forecast to reach 41 celsius. An amber extreme heat warning was issued last week for much of England and Wales for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

National Rail advised customers to ‘only travel if absolutely necessary’ and reminded passengers choosing not to travel that they are eligible for refunds.

It explained that hot weather can affect the rails, overhead power lines and the ground which the track sits on, and that it may impose temporary speed restrictions to reduce the risk of damage to the railway and keep services running.

A number of rail operators in England, such as Southern Rail, said a ‘significantly reduced’ service would be in place across all routes on Monday and Tuesday.

Transport for Wales Rail said services on a number of routes within Wales and between Wales and England would be cancelled, with services elsewhere for essential travel only.

Transport for London (TfL) also advised customers to only travel if essential on Monday and Tuesday.

It said it has a comprehensive hot weather plan in place to keep staff and customers safe but that temporary speed restrictions would need to be introduced on parts of the Tube and Rail network on both days as a precaution, ‘which will mean a reduced service and could mean journeys take longer than usual’.

It added that it is carrying out enhanced inspections to mitigate the impact of the extreme weather.

TfL also advised people to follow advice from the UK Heath Security Agency and avoid strenuous physical activity ‘and therefore advised [customers] to only use Santander Cycles for essential short journeys’.

A spokesperson told Transport Network that the advice covered its entire network.

She said: ‘Although we will be running a normal bus network, the reduced Tube service means we need to ensure that there is space for those who need to make essential journeys. While our double deck buses do have air cooling, due to the exceptionally high temperatures forecast, it is likely that they will be very hot.’

The Road Surface Treatments Association Road said its members should advise their customers that using grit dust on the roads during high temperatures can mitigate the possibility of road surfaces melting.

National Highways said it was urging road users to plan their journeys and check travel conditions.

Separately, ScotRail announced on Friday that it will restore its timetable back to May 2022 levels from Wednesday after members of drivers’ union ASLEF voted to accept an improved pay offer. The move ends the temporary timetable in place since May and will see almost 700 services a day restored.

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