Network Rail will close the East Coast Main Line (ECML) for all locations between London King’s Cross and York and Leeds due to the extreme weather expected on Tuesday 19 July. Passengers are being warned not to travel.
The closure will be in place from 12:00 until 20:00 with a skeleton service running in the morning. It comes amid forecasts of record temperatures and the declaration of a national emergency early next week. A combination of extremely high local forecast temperatures and temperatures well in excess of those for which the infrastructure is designed for on the East Coast corridor has led to this decision.
This means many train companies will not run any services and others will be very limited. Passengers are being asked to replan their journey for another day where possible or get a refund.
Conditions on other routes will be closely monitored with further changes to service possible. Additional response staff will be out on the network to respond to incidents, but the heat makes working conditions challenging for them too.
Sam MacDougall, operations director for Network Rail said: “Closing the line to traffic is always a last resort but it is the right thing to do to keep people safe on Tuesday given the unprecedented heatwave forecast. The forecast temperatures are well above those which our infrastructure is designed, and safety must come first.
“On Monday we are reducing the speed at which trains can run which will limit the number of trains running and extend journey times significantly so we’re asking passengers to only travel if absolutely necessary.
“The best way to keep everyone safe and prevent passengers from becoming stranded on trains in the extraordinary heat is to proactively close the East Coast Main Line routes south of York and Leeds during the very hottest temperatures. I am sorry for the disruption this will cause.”
Jason Webb, director of customer information at Rail Delivery Group said: “These are extreme temperatures and while the whole industry is pulling together to deliver the best possible service under the circumstances, we must ask people to only travel if absolutely necessary. If you have no choice but to travel on lines that are open, please take all sensible precautions to keep yourself safe and well, like bringing water for your journey.
“If your train is disrupted and you choose not to travel then you are eligible for a fee free refund. Some operators will also offer customers the ability to travel either Wednesday or Thursday if they prefer to delay their travel – please check with your operator. We are sorry for the disruption caused.”
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