Heatwave travel meltdown: Trains will be forced to go slower in London next week as temperature soars

Trains on the platform at Waterloo Station (REUTERS)
Trains on the platform at Waterloo Station (REUTERS)

Trains are likely to be severely disrupted next week as they are forced to run at slower speeds because of the extreme hot weather.

Blanket speed limits will be put in place on tracks across London and the south-east on Monday and Tuesday, when temperatures are predicted to soar to a scorching 40C.

On Friday the Met Office issued its first ever extreme heat weather warning, covering much of England, as the country faces a record breaking heatwave.

Network Rail’s emergency action teams are meeting to discuss travel safety plans put in place when temperatures pass 35C.

With the forecast set to exceed the highest temperature ever recorded in Britain, which was 38.7C in 2019, the company warned there would be disruption to travel, particularly on services on the outskirts and coming into London.

Main line and high speed services will likely be limited to 60mph on the hottest days.

“Passengers need to be prepared for extreme temperatures next week, and to take a bottle of water on the train when travelling,” a spokesman for Network Rail said.

“There will be disruption, so plan ahead, be prepared, and check before you travel.”

Overhead train lines and steel rails are more susceptible to damage in extreme heat and tracks more likely to buckle.

The Met Office warned of an “exceptional hot spell on Monday and Tuesday leading to widespread impacts on people and infrastructure”.

The UK Health Security Agency on Friday increased its heat health warning from level three to four.

It does this when a heatwave is so severe or prolonged that its effects “extend outside the health and social care system”.

“At this level, illness and death may occur among the fit and healthy, and not just in high-risk groups,” it said.

Power and water shortages could also occur.

Grahame Madge, Met Office spokesman, said: “We’ve just issued a red warning for extreme heat for Monday and Tuesday which is the first such warning ever issued.

“The warning covers an area from London up to Manchester and then up to the Vale of York. This is potentially a very serious situation.”