UK heatwave: Train tracks catch fire ‘from stray spark’ in 30C as services slowed to avoid buckling

·3-min read
The blaze occurred on a bridge in Battersea, south London (Network Rail)
The blaze occurred on a bridge in Battersea, south London (Network Rail)

The timber beams on railway lines have caught fire and speed restrictions have been imposed on other services as the UK swelters in what is expected to be the hottest day of the year so far.

The blaze occurred on a bridge in Battersea, south London, this morning and caused the suspension of services between Victoria and Brixton.

Network Rail have launched an investigation into the incident and said it is possible the fire was caused by a “stray spark”, as reported by MailOnline.

They also warned that the hot weather could cause lines to “expand and sometimes buckle” and that speed restrictions would be in place across some services.

A spokesman said: “With extremely hot temperatures expected this week, our specialist weather teams will be monitoring key hotspot locations to make sure we can keep services running safely and reliably for passengers.

“Speed restrictions are likely to be in place in some parts of the network most affected by the hot weather.”

The blaze occurred on a bridge in Battersea, south London, (Network Rail)
The blaze occurred on a bridge in Battersea, south London, (Network Rail)

It comes as Britons are being urged to ration water and an amber warning has been issued for “exceptionally high” temperatures.

The Met Office said highs of 33C are expected in some areas on Monday afternoon, with central, southern and eastern England all experiencing the rising temperatures during the heatwave.

The weather warning issued by the forecaster on Monday covers east Midlands, east of England, London, southeast, northeast, northwest, southwest, wales, west Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber.

It will be in place until just before midnight on Sunday, but could be extended if the high temperatures persist.

Meanwhile, the sweltering temperatures have prompted water companies to tell people not to waste water this week.

Suppliers have said that higher demand and irresponsible use during hot weather spells can lead to people not having any water running through their taps.

This is not due to a shortage but to do with companies not being able to treat water quickly enough to keep up with the demand.

Monday’s forecast shows temperatures soaring (Met Office)
Monday’s forecast shows temperatures soaring (Met Office)

They have urged people to find alternatives to cooling down rather than having cold showers, including taking a dip in a local swimming pool or the sea.

A spokesman from Southern Water said: “We do not anticipate the need for temporary use bans across the whole of our region in the coming months.

“However, we may require extra measures in certain areas where water is scarcer and the pressure on supply is greatest, such as Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. We are working closely with local communities and partner agencies in these areas, to keep disruption to a minimum.”

Affinity Water, which supplies parts of the southern and eastern parts of the UK, has urged people to avoid using sprinklers and hosepipes to save 1,000 litres an hour, but added there is not an outright hosepipe ban.

The company has also suggested to avoid using large inflatable pools, only using dishwashers and washing machines when full and turning off the tap when brushing your teeth.

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