UK transport operators say worst heatwave problems are yet to come | Transportation
Roads and trains were quieter than usual on Monday morning as many people heeded advice to stay home if possible during the heatwave – but UK transport operators warned the worst was yet to come .
Train cancellations and delays began to pile up in the early afternoon, with speed limits coming into effect at midday as temperatures hit 30C.
Network Rail said passengers should only consider using the rail on Mondays and Tuesdays if absolutely necessary, and if they are traveling they should carry water and be prepared for long journeys longer.
Warmer temperatures spreading north led Scotrail on Monday after England and Wales slowed trains over safety concerns. Trains across Britain were limited to a maximum of 90mph, while on the East Coast line linking London, York and Edinburgh the top speed was halved to 60mph.
The East Coast line is expected to experience the hottest temperatures, and some of its infrastructure, including cables and tracks, are more susceptible to heat damage than other parts of Britain’s railways. The line will be closed entirely south of Leeds and York on Tuesday.
On the West Coast Main Line on Monday, Avanti was running around one train per hour on major intercity routes, with a London-Manchester service taking three-and-a-half hours instead of two.
A Network Rail spokesman said passengers traveling on Monday morning ‘should not be lulled into a false sense of security’ by properly functioning services, with speed limits not coming into force until midday.
With temperatures expected to remain high throughout the night, restrictions will remain in place permanently until the end of Tuesday.
This means that all long-distance services will inevitably be disrupted, although commuter trains rarely exceed 90mph for long periods. However, the spokesman said that with high temperatures of around 40C expected in the afternoon – and steel rails and equipment likely to be 20C warmer – “outages are inevitable”.
Services on Wednesday, when temperatures are expected to drop significantly, could be affected by infrastructure damage over the next two days.
Stations were reportedly quieter than usual on Monday morning, with significantly fewer passengers reported at Birmingham New Street and around London terminals. Network Rail said passenger numbers had fallen by around 20%.
Tube passenger numbers up to 10am were 18% lower than last Monday and bus passenger numbers were 10% lower, according to Transport for London. TfL had also advised passengers to only travel if essential, with temporary speed restrictions likely to slow down and disrupt parts of its network.
In the early afternoon, an underground line, the Hammersmith and City line, and parts of the London Overground were suspended due to the heat.
Road congestion data from TomTom, the satellite navigation company, showed fewer cars on the roads of Britain’s cities. Its congestion levels – measured by the percentage of free-flowing traffic delayed – in the morning rush hour – were around 5-10% lower than a week ago in London, Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester .
Motoring organizations have warned of a high risk of breakdown, due to overheating engines, bursting tires and consuming fuel faster in the heat.
Although asphalt on secondary roads can reach melting point, a National Highways spokesperson said major strategic roads were designed to withstand temperatures above 60C and no problems were encountered. currently reported.