Southern Rail says trains are having to travel at a slower speed due to the “very hot weather” today (June 29).
As temperatures rocket to around 33 degrees, the rail company says some rails have been heated between 45 and 50 degrees – especially between London and Brighton, and Ashford and Hastings.
As a safety precaution, Network Rail has put in place some speed restrictions across the network during the hottest part of the day to try to alleviate any potential issues occurring.
To ease congestion, a number of services have been cancelled or changed. These include:
• Gatwick Express services which run to/from Brighton will be cancelled - Gatwick Express services will operate between London Victoria and Gatwick only
• Bedford to Gatwick Airport services will be cancelled
• London Bridge to Horsham services will call additionally at Earlswood and Salfords
Train operating companies are working to provide longer trains between London Victoria and Brighton, and have also ensured all major stations are stocked up on water, and that extra staff are available wherever possible at larger stations to assist passengers.
A supplementary bus service is operating between Hastings, Rye and Ashford International in both directions, and will be directed by station staff to alleviate overcrowding.
Passengers are advised to stay hydrated and carry a bottle of water on their journey.
The following ticket acceptance has been arranged for Southern passengers:
• Southeastern between Hastings and the London area
• Thameslink on any reasonable route between Brighton and London
Why speed restrictions can be necessary
If trains ran at normal speeds at some locations, Southern says it would put too much stress on the rails, which are already under pressure due to metal expansion in the hot weather.
Services across the network will be disrupted until the end of the day.