Friday, December 8, 2023

East Midlands Trains Warn Not To Travel Today

This morning East Midlands Trains were just telling those leaving for work to carry water, but as temperatures rose at predicted levels, they began to issue advice not to travel.

At 9:45am they announced that many trains would be travelling at lower speeds:

Disruption to services as speed restrictions imposed due to high track temperatures.

Safety Measures imposed on rail network amid warnings of record UK temperatures. Customers advised not to travel on East Midlands Trains services to and from London on Thursday 25 July.

Speed restrictions are being introduced across wide parts of the UK rail network as a result of the record UK temperatures forecast for today.

Our focus is to ensure our trains and our stations can be safely used by our customers and as a result of the speed restrictions, we have to run a significantly reduced timetable to and from London throughout the day on Thursday 25 July.”

A blanket speed restriction of 60 mph was imposed at 11:30am and this will be in force until this evening.  In some locations, notably where new rails or points have been installed, the speed limit is 20 mph.

As a result, train travel will take longer than usual, and some services will be unavailable or restricted. The situation is being regularly reassessed.

At around 10:30am they tweeted,

Timetable changes

East Midlands Trains intend to run the full timetable on local services.  Although there will be disruptions caused by the speed limits and other timetables having to change.

There is an alternate timetable for the London/Nottingham/Sheffield route, updates and departures can be found HERE.   There has not been any issue announced with the rails locally.  The disruption is due to problems south of Leicester.  The reduced service to/from London St. Pancras is due to heat stress on the track between Leicester and London.

Customers travelling to Bedford will have to go Luton instead.

Customers travelling to East Anglia are advised that there is a “severely reduced” service there and they are warning people, “DO NOT TRAVEL unless absolutely necessary.”

Travel in London is operating on only 50% of the usual service.

Travel to Leeds, Wakefield, and Doncaster will end at Sheffield for East Midlands trains but they state that for today there will be some service from Cross Country trains.

Alternative routes?

There are no alternative routes.  East Midlands Trains stated,  “As the high track temperatures are affecting the whole of the UK, Network Rail are implementing speed restrictions and safety precautions on most routes. Alternative routes are not viable as all Train Operators will be running a considerably reduced service in order to maintain a safe railway for our customers … We strongly recommend you DO NOT TRAVEL TODAY, July 25th 2019.


All tickets for today will be valid for tomorrow, Friday 26th July, or a refund can be claimed.  Refunds can be requested through the East Midlands website, if the tickets were purchased directly from East Midlands Trains. Refunds should be requested through My Account on the East Midlands Trains website.  Delays over 30 minutes can be eligible for compensation.  Tickets purchased through other sites or apps will be subject to that company’s terms and conditions.


Hotter countries travel by train; why can’t we?

British train tracks are pre-stressed to withstand temperatures up to 27 degrees.  Up to 27 degrees air temperature, the tracks are stress free.  At the time of publication (midday) the temperature is 31 degrees, and today temperatures are predicted to reach the mid 30s in the Midlands, with possibly higher temperatures elsewhere,  At the temperatures that we will reach, the tracks will be 20 degrees hotter than the air, exceeding their stress protection.  This causes the steel to expand and warp in shape, leading to the risk of the tracks buckling.  Buckled tracks can lead to derailing, especially at higher speeds, or higher temperatures.

Although they can be pre-stressed to withstand higher temperatures, National Rail state, “In Britain, the variations in short-term weather and long-term climate mean that it is neither practical nor cost effective to implement these measures permanently on the British rail network.”


Clare Washbrook

Current Editor-in-Chief News and magazine editor since 1995 Post-grads: Literature; Theatre; Journalism, Ethics & Law Community Affiliations: Belper Goes Green, Belper's WW1 Poppies, Amber Valley Solidarity No political party memberships/affiliations.

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