Latest railway news - heatwave, engineering work, strikes
Received from First Group today:
You will have seen that further strike days have been announced by the RMT trade union (signallers, train managers, station dispatch staff amongst others) for Wednesday 27 July, Thursday 18 August and Saturday 20 August and by ASLEF (the train drivers union) for Saturday 30 July. The TSSA trade union now also has a mandate for strike action but has yet to announce any dates. As soon we have details of train plans for the affected days, which will include the days after the strikes, we will let you know. We are also keeping our dedicated webpages up to date on www.gwr.com/strike and https://www.networkrail.co.uk/industrial-action/.
In addition, 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 https://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/news/rail-passengers-in-england-and-wales-warned-to-only-travel-if-necessary-ahead-of-soaring-temperatures. GWR have also released their own update https://news.gwr.com/news/travel-warning-as-heat-related-speed-restrictions-across-the-region-set-to-affect-train-services.
As temperatures soar both the railway infrastructure and trains are affected. On average, track temperature is 20C above air temperature. The extreme temperatures now expected next week, well in excess of 30C, mean the track temperature will be over 50C. This is far outside the normal operating range, and adds thousands of tonnes of additional pressure 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 5C.
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.
It is also worth noting that journeys between Moreton-in-Marsh and Charlbury on Saturday and Sunday will be impacted by engineering works. We have found sourcing all the buses we would normally use for road replacement during this closure very difficult. Rail tickets are valid on alternative routes via Worcester so customers can travel by train instead. We are doing all we can with our contractors to try and close the gaps, but buses are proving difficult to find.
We are advising customers to check before they set out using our Journeycheck service at www.journeycheck.com/GreatWesternRailway.
Gareth Epps · Fri 15 Jul 2022, 23:10 · Link