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Heatwave: Greater Anglia urges passengers not to travel by train and other services are cancelled amid extreme heat

Greater Anglia is advising people to avoid travelling by rail today (Monday, July 18) and tomorrow (Tuesday, July 19), when temperatures are forecast to be extremely high and widespread disruption to rail services is likely across the region and the rest of the rail network.

A Greater Anglia Intercity train
A Greater Anglia Intercity train

Network Rail is imposing speed restrictions across the whole of the Greater Anglia network to ensure the safe running of trains and in a bid to protect the rail infrastructure from damage. Buckled rails, sagging overhead lines or other major faults prompted by the conditions could block lines completely and cause severe delays in extreme high temperatures.

Many journeys are expected to take longer, as trains will be travelling at slower speeds than usual, and service alterations will take place on many routes.

Network Rail has also decided to close tomorrow (Tuesday, July 19) the entire East Coast Mainline due to the high temperatures. This means there will be no Thameslink or Great Northern trains along the route from Peterborough and Cambridge or Hertford North into London (the route from Bedford will still have a very limited service).

Passengers are warned to expect widespread disruption and short-notice cancellations, especially from the middle of the day onwards when the hottest temperatures occur, with Britain set to experience record high temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius on Monday and Tuesday. Other train operators will also be affected as the heatwave is forecast across the whole country.

Those who choose to travel on Monday and Tuesday should wear cool clothing, have plenty of water and consider using hand-held fans. They should allow plenty of time for their journeys and expect cancellations and delays.

The first of Greater Anglia's new Class 720 trains to run from London Liverpool Street to Cambridge. Picture: Greater Anglia
The first of Greater Anglia's new Class 720 trains to run from London Liverpool Street to Cambridge. Picture: Greater Anglia

Greater Anglia managing director Jamie Burles said: “We are very sorry to be disrupting our customers’ travel plans, but the safety of our customers and rail staff is of paramount importance.

“Our trains will be running at lower speeds because we want to minimise the risk of heat-related damage to the railway tracks and signals, which could then cause huge delays in record-breaking, sweltering temperatures putting our passengers at risk of falling ill due to the heat.

“Whilst we have air conditioning on the majority of our trains now, if they are held up in long delays and the power to the train is cut off, temperatures would rise and it could become very uncomfortable. Please listen to the weather warnings, stay cool, drink plenty of water and avoid travelling on Monday and Tuesday.”

Details of services are available on the Greater Anglia website, app and social media. All passengers should check before they travel. Customers with tickets for Monday and Tuesday will be able to use their tickets on another day or apply for a free refund, by going back to the original point of sale.

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