Too Hot To Travel – But A Better Explanation as to Why

Despite the advice not to travel, I made it to Durham ok for my work conference, easily making my 5 minute connection at Newcastle from Northern onto LNER (the recommended minimum interchange time is 8 minutes). When we were advised not to travel in a previous heatwave 3 or 4 years back, I went on a mission to find out why, when the railways in other countries – including some desert countries – where it was even hotter continued as normal. It took 3 or 4 months for Network Rail to get back to me with the answer – which is to do with the temperature rails are stress-tested to during the manufacturing process. This time, I heard the explanation being given clearly, both by Network Rail and some train company managers who were interviewed on TV – so full marks to the industry for realising we are not stupid and more explanation is necessary. Nevertheless, I was still left wondering why our colleagues in Network Rail’s East Coast region decided to proactively close the line our of Kings Cross for the following day, when their neighbours in the West Coast team made no such decision for the route out of Euston. Surely it can’t be that much hotter just a quarter of a mile down the road? But perhaps Network Rail’s East Coast team were proved right after all, as the Euston route was forced into unplanned closure not by the rails buckling but by serious lineside fires. So overall, well done to the rail industry for an emergency well predicted with sound contingency plans implemented, and thanks to rail industry staff who continued to work in blistering driver cabs and signal boxes to maintain the services that did actually keep running.


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