Air passengers face delays after record temperatures in UK
Delays and cancellations at Heathrow as well as train stations because of weather
A busy Euston train station in London as morning train commuters face disruption after the extreme heat caused chaos on the rail network. Photograph: Georgina Stubbs/PA Wire
Rail and air passengers are being urged to avoid unnecessary travel in the UK as efforts continue to repair damage to the rail network caused by record-breaking July temperatures.
There are also delays and cancellations at Heathrow, the UK’s biggest airport because of “extreme weather conditions across Europe”.
UK Network Rail is urging commuters planning to use the Midland Main Line between St Pancras and Sheffield to check before travelling due to reduced service levels.
Network Rail said in a statement: “Trains had to run at reduced speeds, which also meant a reduced service ran and those which did run were extremely busy.”
Train speeds are being reduced to cut the likelihood of steel tracks buckling after multiple incidents on the network, including problems with overhead equipment on the line between Kentish Town and West Hampstead and a fire near the railway in West Hampstead.
The weather is also causing difficulties to flights. British Airways announced that “severe thunderstorms are causing significant delays and cancellations to our operation in and out of London”.
Heathrow Airport asked travellers to “please check with your airline before travelling”, adding that: “We’re sorry for the disruption & are working with our airline partners to keep passengers travelling.”
Thousands of passengers were left stranded at major stations on Thursday, the hottest July day on record, as temperatures of up to 38.1 degrees created havoc.
One passenger posted a video on board a stationary London North Eastern Railway (LNER) service showing sweat-soaked commuters, including a man with a baby, desperately fanning themselves.
Another image showed a collapsed man being treated by medical staff outside the train.
Thunderstorms in the south-east of England were continuing to bring heavy rain, gusty winds and lightning on Friday morning.
“The thunderstorms could continue on and off through the course of the day,” Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst told PA.
“There is enough energy in the atmosphere to keep it going.”
Temperatures will range from the mid-20s to the low 30s on Friday, Mr Dewhurst added.
There were also record-high temperatures recorded in Europe, including Paris which hit more than 40 degrees.
Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands all reported unprecedented heat levels, in some cases only one day after previous records were broken. Scientists linked the heatwave to global warming caused by fossil fuel emissions.
The thermometer reached 42.6 degrees in Paris, breaking the previous record of 40.4 degrees set in July 1947. Metéo France, the French weather service, noted that 43 degrees is the average July temperature in Baghdad. – PA