Monday 4 Aug 2003


Region & Route:
Network Rail today imposed precautionary heat related speed restrictions across some of its network to ensure the delivery of a safe railway. The precautionary speed restrictions will have most effect on long distance Virgin services with extended journey times between London and Birmingham / Manchester / Crewe / Scotland and a reduced service to Birmingham from half hourly to hourly. The speed restrictions that will be imposed include:- Significant effect on services: 60 mph along the West Coast main line from Euston to Crewe (1230 till early evening) – extended journey times and service reductions. 60 mph along some sections of the cross country network (mainly around Birmingham and Leamington Spa, 1230 till early evening)  - extended journey times. Minimal effect on services: 60 mph across Southern England (1400 till early evening) – minimal effect due to relatively slow speeds on these routes. 60 mph on routes from Liverpool Street to Chelmsford and Norwich (1430 till early evening) – minimal effect due to relatively slow speeds on these routes. During the hot weather track temperatures increase, often to a much higher level than the air temperature (52 degrees recorded near Guildford in mid-July), and there is potential for rails to buckle when the steel expands. - more - Heat - 2 The problem of rail buckling due to high temperature is an issue railway engineers have always had to contend with.  It is not unique to the UK.  Other European countries also suffer from this seasonal track problem. Peter Henderson, Projects and Engineering Director said: “Our first priority is always to run a safe railway.  With air temperatures expected at over 30 degrees in some areas today we feel it is necessary and sensible to impose these speed restrictions.  With temperatures dropping in the early evening the restrictions are lifted.  This obviously varies from location to location but tends to happen between 6pm and 8pm. Most passengers will not have their services disrupted as a result of these restrictions but  we must apologise to those passengers who use the West Coast main line who will experience the most delay.”             With weather reports predicting 30+ degree temperatures for most of the week it is likely that precautionary heat related speed restrictions will be imposed at these and possibly other locations in the afternoons during this period.

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