London weather latest: Heatwave travel chaos as Tube and train delays hit commuters and railway track bends

·3-min read
Passengers on the Bakerloo Line on Monday  (PA)
Passengers on the Bakerloo Line on Monday (PA)

Commuters were faced with serious train delays and station closures on Monday as extreme hot weather hit London.

There were severe delays on several lines including the Central, District, Metropolitan and Bakerloo for much of the day as “heat related speed restrictions" were imposed.

The Overground was part suspended and there was no service at all on the Hammersmith and City Line as the capital braced itself for the hottest day on record, with temperatures due to hit at least 38C.

As the mercury climbed towards an all-time UK high in the afternoon, Network Rail said it had discovered a kink in the line at Vauxhall due to “extreme heat”.

“The rail temperature here is over 48 degrees Celsius so we’re painting the rails white to prevent them from getting hotter,” it said on Twitter.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said: "Only use public transport if your journey is absolutely necessary. Plan ahead, carry water and be prepared for delays."

The Met Office has issued its first ever extreme heat weather warning. Blanket speed limits have been put in place on tracks across London and the south-east because of the rising temperatures, which can cause overhead powerlines to fail and tracks to buckle.

Commuters spoke of their dread of the evening commute as the mercury soared and the transport network began to creak under the strain.

Josh Simmonds, 25, an engineer who commutes to Victoria from Bromley said: “I’ve got my flip flops and t-shirt on to go in because it’s so hot, it’s like a dress down Monday. I’m hoping by avoid the commute tomorrow, it’s going to be too much.”

Lotte Nash, 35, who works for the NHS, said: "I’m frontline staff. Our building is quite hot and I don’t think London is ready for this sort of heat. To be fair my train was air conditioned but I had to get on a bus that was boiling.”

The Standard took a temperature check on London Bridge where it was nudging 30C at 8.45am on Monday morning.

Carmela Maglieta, 23, said: “I’m from the south of Italy so I’m used to the heat. But London is not really prepared for this."

City worker Karl Evans, 38, said: “It’s boiling this morning and it’s only 9am. I’m not looking forward to tonight.”

With the forecast set to exceed the highest temperature ever recorded in Britain, which was 38.7C in 2019, Network Rail said there would be disruption to travel as main line and high speed services are limited to 60mph.

Cabinet Office minister Kit Malthouse insisted the country was "prepared" for the scorching weather, but admitted there would be "disruption" to transport networks on Monday and Tuesday.

"The transport operators have asked people to avoid travelling unless they have to," he told Sky News. "Obviously if you are using public transport you have to bear that in mind. We have got a hot 48 hours coming so be prepared and look out for the vulnerable."

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