Speed restrictions are being introduced on Britain’s railways amid concern that rails will buckle in this week’s sweltering heat.
As the country experienced soaring temperatures, Network Rail’s extreme weather action teams have been activated across the country to monitor “vulnerable locations”.
The move could lead to potential delays for commuters with hot weather set to continue all week.
Monday was the hottest day of the year so far as the mercury hit 29.4C in London.
One route affected is the line from London Waterloo to New Malden, where services are being subjected to speed restrictions from 11am each day until Friday.
Andy Thomas, managing director of England and Wales at Network Rail, said: “On very sunny days, rails in direct sunshine can be as much as 20C above air temperature, causing the steel to expand markedly, and could – if not carefully monitored and action taken – buckle, causing travel disruption.
“Our engineers and specialist extreme weather teams are monitoring track-side temperatures at vulnerable locations and will, if necessary, introduce temporary speed restrictions during the hottest part of the day to keep trains running, albeit more slowly than normal.”
Slower trains exert lower forces on the track, reducing the likelihood of buckling.
Commuters faced delays as the mercury spiked, with many taking to Twitter to complain.
They included James Williams, who branded Great Northern a “disgrace” as people packed into carriages despite the record temperatures, leading to some apparently collapsing.
— GNR Great Failure (@JamesMWWilliams) June 25, 2018
No train running from LBG to PRP between 1800 – 2000hr, I have to transfer via east corydon for 19:11 to littlehampton, and I simply can’t even get am standing room for passed 2 trains from LBG for ECR!!! @PRPcommuters @TLRailUK @transportgovuk #chaos #heatwave #GTRfailure pic.twitter.com/sDfM8SoCk7
— Cheng Jin (@tyler_jin) June 25, 2018