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15th July 2022

Dear MMPA Members,

You may have seen the national media release just issued by Network Rail about the impact of the very high temperatures expected this weekend and early next week. GWR has released its own update.

As temperatures soar both the railway infrastructure and trains are affected. On average, track temperature is 20°C above air temperature. The extreme temperatures now expected next week, well in excess of 30°C, mean the track temperature will be over 50°C. This is far outside the normal operating range, and adds thousands of tonnes of additional force onto the track which will expand in the heat. There is a risk of the track buckling. Where possible Network Rail will try to reduce track temperature, by doings things like painting the sides of the track white which can lower the track temperature by up to 5°C.

With the temperatures expected on Monday and Tuesday, even this will not be enough, so to reduce this risk and keep passengers safe, speed limits will be introduced across the country on Monday and Tuesday. This will reduce the number of trains that can travel, and there is therefore likely to be delays and cancellations.  To help customers will be able to use their tickets on Wednesday or Thursday instead. Our Refund and Book with Confidence policies will remain in place and we are working together to get the news out. Any help you can give us with that would be great. We are advising customers to check before they set out using our Journeycheck service

Best wishes,

Jane Jones
Head of Public Affairs, Great Western Railway

Toby Elliott
Head of Communications, Network Rail Western

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Last updated 15th July, 2022