The UK’s transport secretary has warned that heat-induced disruption to travel will occur “a lot more regularly”, as the country’s infrastructure buckles amid an unprecedented heatwave.
“A lot of our infrastructure is just not built for these types of temperatures,” Grant Shapps told Sky News on Tuesday.
Temperatures in the UK are forecast to rise to a record 41C on Tuesday, as an unusual atmospheric pattern carries hot air from southern Europe further north.
The Met Office, the national weather service, said Monday night was provisionally the UK’s warmest on record.
“Temperatures didn’t fall below 25C in places,” the office said in a tweet, which exceeded the previous highest daily minimum of 23.9C, recorded in Brighton on August 3 1990.
“On the railways. . . on the ground those rails can be heating up to 50C, 60C, or hotter, and that means they’re in serious danger of buckling, so you end up having to run the trains slower,” Shapps said.
Network Rail and some train operators have issued a “red weather warning”, and advised London commuters to avoid travel if possible.
The hot weather has prompted the cancellation of some rail services on the East Coast main line, Thameslink, Great Northern and East Midlands lines. There are also severe delays and cancellations on the Transport for London Tube services.
“We’re going to see this a lot more regularly. We’ve seen many of the hottest days ever recorded have come in the last 10 to 15 years, so we’re going to see this more,” Shapps said.
I have added that the UK need to upgrade its infrastructure and it could take “decades . . . to replace it all”.