The Melt line: 1.5m Londoners brave the Tube and bus as heatwave hits new record

·2-min read
Hot Tube: Passengers braved soaring temperatures on the London Underground  (PA)
Hot Tube: Passengers braved soaring temperatures on the London Underground (PA)

More than a million Londoners braved the Tube or bus on Tuesday morning as the capital headed for its hottest day on record.

There were 1.03m entries and exits on the Underground by 10am – suggesting just over 500,000 people made a Tube journey, despite advice to only travel if “essential”.

In addition, there were 1.04m bus trips by the same time, showing how many Londoners were unable to work from home, despite the heat. A record 40.2C was recorded at Heathrow at 12.50pm on Tuesday, the Met Office said.

By lunchtime on Tuesday, there were “severe delays” on five Tube lines – the Bakerloo, Central, District, Metropolitan and Piccadilly – while the Hammersmith and City line was shut for the second successive day.

Too close to the sun: the cable car has been suspended (Ross Lydall)
Too close to the sun: the cable car has been suspended (Ross Lydall)

The cable car across the Thames was also suspended for a second day due to “extreme weather conditions”.

TfL said morning passenger numbers on the Tube were down 30 per cent on Tuesday last week, meaning ridership was only at 47 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. About 30,000 fewer people travelled on Tuesday morning in comparison to Monday morning.

Bus trips were down 16 per cent on a week ago, with about 10,000 fewer travelling, taking numbers to about 77 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

A TfL spokesman said a fall in passenger numbers was to be expected in the last week of the school term but added: “The recent high temperatures have led to more of a reduction than would have been expected before our travel advice was issued to only make essential journeys during this extreme hot weather.”

On Monday, about 1.93m journeys were made on the Tube – 52 per cent of pre-pandemic demand and down 24 per cent compared to Monday last week.

On the buses, 4.02m journeys were made on Monday, around 73 per cent pre-pandemic demand and down 13 per cent from last week.

Network Rail closed King’s Cross station and the East Coast mainline was closed between London and Yorkshire.

The London Overground was suspended between Willesden Junction and Richmond and there was no service this morning between Gospel Oak and the new station at Barking Riverside because of a broken train.

Thameslink and Great Northern trains were cancelled out of the capital for the entire day, with only limited Avanti West Coast and West Midlands Railway trains out of Euston and Chilterns Railway services from Marylebone.

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