Passengers thanked for their patience after disruption caused by extreme heat: Overhead line engineers

Friday 26 Jul 2019

Passengers thanked for their patience after disruption caused by extreme heat

Region & Route:
North West & Central

Passengers are being thanked for their patience today (26 July) and advised to check before they travel as services return to normal after Thursday's hot weather.

Teams of Network Rail engineers worked overnight to repair damage at several locations which caused significant disruption to passengers and journeys as temperatures rose in excess of 35°C across the country. 

Track temperatures soared too - up to 20°C higher than the air temperature - and overhead power lines, which keep electric trains moving, suffered at the hands of the extreme weather. 

Network Rail worked with the train operators to keep as many passengers moving as safely as possible across the North West and Central Region.

The excessive temperatures made many journeys impossible and those which did happen were often longer and much busier than normal. 

Phil James, from Network Rail, said: "I want to say sorry to passengers for the disruption and discomfort they faced making their journeys yesterday. The extreme temperatures made travelling by train very difficult at times and we thank passengers for their patience while we worked hard to get people moving again.

"With the railway being made of metal and moving parts, the sustained high temperatures took their toll in places. 

"Everything was done to keep trains moving where possible and last night hundreds of staff were out fixing the damage and repairing the railway, ready for today.

"Trains are running again this morning but please, check before you travel for the latest information."

Passengers can check before they travel with their train operator or at

Notes to Editors

  • Our overhead power lines are made from steel which expands in the high heat causing them to sag. When the cables hang too low they can get caught on trains and become damaged.
  • Since the last hottest summer in 2003, in 2018, we have reduced the number of buckled rail incidents by 83%.
  • When installing our steel rails, we use a process called stressing to protect against buckling. Stressing the rails allows us to set the range of temperatures the track can comfortably cope with. Stressing our rails to cope with higher summer temperatures would mean making them less able to cope with low temperatures during the winter. Our rails have a stress-free temperature of 27oC, the average summer rail temperature in the UK. You can find more info here -
  • Our teams work hard all year round to reduce minimise the disruption caused by hot weather. You can find more information about what we do here -

More information on climate change and weather resilience on the railway is available here -

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - North West & Central Region
07740 782954

About Network Rail

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