Cambridge train passengers advised not to travel by Greater Anglia
Greater Anglia is advising customers not to travel by train unless absolutely necessary today – as the company is due to run a heavily reduced service to prevent tracks from being damaged in predicted record-breaking temperatures.
The temperature is forecast to hit a high of 38 degrees Celsius in parts of the region. Network Rail is warning that track temperatures could reach an unprecedented 54 to 55 degrees and is asking passenger train companies across the Anglia rail network, including Greater Anglia, to reduce maximum train speeds to 60mph, which means the usual timetable is unable to operate.
Greater Anglia provides intercity, commuter and rural services throughout Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, including the Stansted Express service.
Martin Moran, Greater Anglia Commercial and Customer Service director, said: “We’re very sorry for the inconvenience caused to customers by this reduced service.
“It’s impossible to run our usual services if trains have to go at such a reduced speed, so we are asking people not to travel unless absolutely necessary
“Reducing the service for one day is preferable to disruption that a buckled rail could cause which would be longer, unplanned and even more inconvenient for customers”
In hot weather, tracks become more susceptible to buckling, which would mean that no trains at all are able to run on the damaged section. When the air temperature is 30 degrees, the temperature on the rails can be up to 20 degrees higher, causing the steel rails to expand exceeding, resulting in a signalling problem called a track circuit failure. In extreme temperatures rails can buckle and the service will have to stop until the rail is replaced
Trains put pressure on the track as it runs over it – but that pressure is reduced if the train runs at a lower speed.
Greater Anglia will be running a significantly reduced service – with less than 50 per cent of services operating and those that are running will have significantly longer journey times.
People who are unable to make alternative arrangements are advised to check before they travel on the Greater Anglia website or app, allow longer for their journeys and stay hydrated. Doors and windows of stationary trains will be left open when it is safe and secure to do so.
Water is available at staffed stations and there are water fountains at 11 stations including Liverpool Street, Ipswich and Colchester.