Network Rail will close the East Coast Main Line 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 12noon until 8pm with a skeleton service running in the morning.
The closure comes amid forecasts of record temperatures and the declaration of a national emergency. The current forecast maximum air temperature on Tuesday 19 July is 39 to 40 degrees through the full 173 miles of the Kings Cross to York section of the East Coast Main Line.
The national rail body says that 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. Network Rail says that 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, 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.”
Network Rail has also issued the following train service information for Tuesday:
LNER: Do not travel between London King's Cross and south of York & Leeds. No trains will run (this includes Wakefield, Doncaster, Retford, Lincoln, Newark, Grantham, Peterborough, and Stevenage), only travel if necessary to other destinations.
Great Northern and Thameslink: No trains will run to or from King’s Cross or Moorgate on either the Thameslink or Great Northern routes. There will be no trains on these routes all day. This means no service between Peterborough / Cambridge / Stevenage and London, or on the sub-urban routes between Stevenage via Hertford North / Welwyn Garden City and Moorgate.
Cross Country: Services are scaled back on Monday and Tuesday and will terminate at Leeds in the west and Newcastle in the north.
East Midlands Railway services which cross the East Coast: No trains will run between Cleethorpes and Barton-on-Humber. Liverpool Lime Street/ Nottingham/Norwich services will only run between Manchester Piccadilly and Grantham and Doncaster / Lincoln / Peterborough services will be cancelled.
Northern and TransPennine Express: Services likely to be affected by the restrictions.
Hull Trains: Only running a single service in each direction early in the morning with two further shuttle services between Hull and Doncaster. Service will be diverted and will not call at Howden and Selby.
Grand Central: Only travel if essential. A reduced timetable will be in place.
Lumo: Customers travelling to or from London Kings Cross are advised to only travel, if necessary before 12:00 or after 20:00 and please do not travel between 12:00 and 20:00. Customers travelling to or from Edinburgh, Morpeth or Newcastle are advised to only travel if essential.