Britain’s Transport Secretary has warned that heat-related travel disruptions will become “much more common” as the country’s infrastructure collapses amid an unprecedented heatwave.
“A lot of our infrastructure just isn’t built for these kinds of temperatures,” Grant Shapps told Sky News on Tuesday.
Temperatures in the UK are expected to soar to a record 41C on Tuesday as an unusual atmospheric pattern carries hot air further north from southern Europe.
The Met Office, the national weather service, said Monday night was provisionally the warmest on record in the UK.
“Temperatures did not drop below 25C in places,” the bureau said in a tweet that beat the previous highest daily minimum of 23.9C recorded in Brighton on August 3, 1990.
“On the train. . . On the ground these rails can get hot to 50C, 60C or more, and that means they can buckle seriously, so you end up having to slow the trains down,” Shapps said.
Network Rail and some train operators have issued a “red weather warning”, advising commuters in London to avoid travel where possible.
The hot weather has meant some rail services on the East Coast Main Line, Thameslink, Great Northern and East Midlands Lines have been suspended. There are also serious delays and cancellations on Transport for London Tube services.
“We’re going to see that much more regularly. We’ve seen many of the hottest days on record come in the last 10 to 15 years, so we’re going to see that more often,” Shapps said.
He added that Britain needs to upgrade its infrastructure and that “could take decades. . . to replace everything”.