Published on: Friday, 15 July 2022
Last updated: Monday, 18 July 2022
Updated 18th July.
Greater Anglia is advising people to avoid travelling by rail on Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 July, 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.
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.
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.
A reduced service will operate on the Norwich-London Liverpool Street and Cambridge-London Liverpool Street main lines and on the Southend-London Liverpool Street route.
A shuttle service will operate on the Harwich-Manningtree, Braintree-Witham, Southminster-Wickford and Clacton/Walton/Colchester Town-Colchester branch lines to a normal frequency, but without direct services to/from London.
A normal timetable is currently planned for regional services between Norwich and Sheringham, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Cambridge/Stansted Airport; between Ipswich and Lowestoft, Felixstowe, Cambridge and Peterborough; and on the Marks Tey-Sudbury line.
The Ipswich to Peterborough service will terminate and start at Ely between 12.00 and 20.00.
The Stansted Express service between Stansted Airport and London is likely to remain half-hourly but journeys will take longer.
Passengers 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.
Water fountains with free cold water are at 13 of Greater Anglia’s stations and at London Liverpool Street.
Details of services will be available over the weekend as they are finalised. All passengers should check before they travel.
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 will be available on the Greater Anglia website, app and social media over the weekend as they are finalised. 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.