“Knock on” rail disruptions expected tomorrow due to heatwave

PUBLISHED: 16:06 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:06 25 July 2019

Ipswich Railway Station Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Railway Station Picture: ARCHANT

The hot weather has caused major delays on the rails today – but Greater Anglia has confirmed service will be better tomorrow.

Temperatures in Suffolk have hit the 34C mark, just a few degrees shy of the 2013 record of 37.3C.

Almost 300 train services were cancelled across the Greater Anglia network due to the heat, potentially causing problems for holidaygoers after the schools broke up for summer.

Greater Anglia advised its users not to travel, saying all tickets will be valid on tomorrow's services.

The train cancellations come amid fears that rail may buckle in the soaring temperatures, which would cause further disruption when they are repaired.

Martin Moran, commercial and customer service director, said: "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"

Because rails are made of steel, they expend in the heat, with some rails in direct sunshine reaching temperatures 20C higher than the air temperature.

If a rail gets too hot it can curve, which is known as 'buckling', which can be dangerous if carrying a train at full speed.

You may also want to watch:

To combat this Network Rail have been monitoring the tracks to see which sections are at risk of buckling and have reduced the speed on the lines to 60mph so trains exert less force on the rails.

However some argue that more could be done to limit the disruption caused during a heatwave.

Richard Holland, vice-chairman of the Felixstowe Rail Users group, said: "If they can get a man on the moon 50 years ago, why can't they get the rails open when there's a bit of hot weather.
"They have just spent £60 million to improve Felixstowe's line with duelling and new signalling which was great news.

"But then when the sun comes out it all grinds to a halt.

"It is almost unbelievable in this day and age."

A spokesman for Greater Anglia said disruption on the rail lines would continue tomorrow, a knock on effect from today's delays and the continuation of Network Rail speed restrictions, however it would not be on the same scale.

She said: "It won't be as much disruption tomorrow as there has been today, but we still will have some disruption.

"That will be because there will be a speed restriction until tomorrow so some services will take a few extra minutes to get there.

"There will also be some knock-on delays from Thursday's residual trains.

"Today we ran a complete reduced service, tomorrow should have much less disruption."

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ipswich Star