HEATWAVE: Rail bosses plan slower services, while motorists urged to plan ahead as temperatures expected to reach record

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Waterloo sunset

WITH temperatures expected to hit 38ºC (100ºF) today – and possibly higher, breaking UK records – travel bosses are warning people to plan ahead.

Motorists and rail commuters are being told to make additional preparations.

Network Rail said that its steel tracks can expand if they exceed 50ºC, which they are likely to do in direct sunlight.

They warn that in extreme cases, the rails buckle because they cannot expand any further.

In a bid to reduce this, there will be speed restrictions put in place on many services, as the slower trains apply lower forces on the rails.

In a statement, it added: “To prepare for these high temperatures we have painted the most at-risk rails white, so they absorb less heat, reducing temperatures by up to 10ºC. Cooling equipment has also been fitted to a number of other key assets across the Wessex route.”

David Dickson, managing director for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said: “With temperatures expected to exceed 35ºC across the route this week, getting passengers to their destinations safely is our top priority.

“We will be doing all we can, along with our colleagues at South Western Railway, to keep passengers moving safely and comfortably throughout the heatwave.”

And to help commuters stay hydrated, there will be two water refill points installed in Waterloo: The Balcony adjacent to Platform 1 and on the ground floor concourse located next to Exit 2.

Network Rail added: “If you feel unwell before you start your journey, please do not travel. If you feel unwell while travelling, please get off at the next stop and speak with a member of staff.”

And Highways England offered the following tips for any motorists tackling the roads during the heatwave.

  • Take a bottle of water with you before setting out to ensure you stay hydrated
  • Plan and leave plenty of time for journeys
  • Check the weather forecast for your destination
  • Check travel conditions before setting out and, where it is safe to do so, during journeys
  • Ensure you and your cars are fit for the journey.

Highways England resilience manager Helen Cook said: “Safety is our top priority and we want all drivers to safely reach their destinations during the expected heatwave. I would urge people to prepare for their journey by stocking up on water, checking their vehicles and assessing travel conditions before they set off.”

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