British travellers are facing further delays this weekend as repairs are carried out on damaged rail lines in the wake of an intense heatwave – with heavy rain now expected to batter the country causing flooding on the roads.
East Midlands Trains customers have been told to expect delays and cancellations today, as a significantly reduced service runs to and from London to repair damaged overhead line equipment caused by temperatures of more than 100F this week.
Passengers travelling on the London St Pancras-Nottingham-Sheffield have also been told to check before heading out on their journeys as there will be a reduced timetable. And there is ongoing disruption between Leicester and Market Harborough after a person was hit by a train.
Gatwick Airport has also warned of potential disruption ‘due to ongoing adverse weather across Europe’ with passengers advised to check with their airlines for the latest information.
Yesterday, the heatwave left holidaymakers and commuters at boiling point with Britain’s creaking transport system described as a national embarrassment after one of the busiest days of the year was hit by travel chaos.
However after a week in which Britain has been hit by hot temperatures and thunderstorms, heavy rainfall is now expected to bring flooding and more disruption – with the Met Office waning of ‘danger to life’.
It has issued a yellow weather warning for rain which covers vast swathes of Scotland and England, with the exception of the South West region, until Sunday evening.
The departure board at St Pancras didn’t make the best reading this morning, with dozens of trains cancelled as repair work is carried out after intense heat caused damage to overhead power lines
Women walk across London Bridge during heavy rain this morning. London and the UK are experiencing heavy rain and stormy weather today
A car ploughs through surface water in Westminster, central London as the capital is deluged with rain, following a week that saw the UK experience record temperatures for July
There were wet conditions early this morning, as people made their way home from a night out in Leeds
Revellers had to shelter themselves from the rain early this morning, with more expected over the weekend and a yellow weather warning in place
After a week of intense heat, the heavens opened this morning creating damp conditions for people on a night out in Leeds
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for rain which covers vast swathes of Scotland and England, with the exception of the South West region, until Sunday afternoon
Heavy rainfall this weekend could now bring flooding and travel disruption after a week of high temperatures
Jake Kelly, East Midlands Trains managing director, said: ‘We’re sorry to everybody who has experienced disrupted journeys over the past two days.
‘We are working very closely with Network Rail while they work to repair the overhead line equipment and fully reopen the railway, which will in turn allow us to reintroduce our full train service to and from London St Pancras.
‘Whilst this work takes place, we do have a significantly reduced timetable in place on our London route over the weekend and our advice for customers is to avoid travelling on this route wherever possible and make alternative arrangements.
‘Due to the RMT industrial action, there will also be some changes to services on our local routes on Saturday, with revised timetables and replacement coach operations in place on some lines.’
While Paul Rutter, Chief Operating Office for Network Rail, also apologised for the significant disruption, saying the ‘unprecedented heatwave’ had been ‘tremendously difficult’ for the train network.
He said: ‘As an industry, we took pre-emptive action to reduce the services running yesterday in response to the forecast extreme heat.
‘We continue to work closely with East Midlands Trains and Thameslink on keeping passengers moving safely and Network Rail engineers will continue to work round-the-clock to fix the over head line equipment, enabling a full service to run as soon as possible.
‘We would advise passengers not to travel on the Midland Main Line over the weekend unless absolutely necessary.
‘If you must travel, please check before travelling with your train operator or National Rail Enquiries. I would like to thank all those affected for their patience.’
Adding to the travel chaos, up to 20mm of rain fell in parts of London and the south-east of England overnight, with forecasters expecting up to another 20mm during this morning.
A spokesman for the Met Office said: ‘It will remain mostly cloudy today with continued outbreaks of showery rain, heavy and perhaps thundery at times, bringing the risk of localised flooding especially in the east of the area.’
And meteorologist Alex Deakin added: ‘If you’re stuck under this rain and thick cloud, temperatures are really going to struggle. Mid-teens at best.
‘Now that band of rain will continue to edge itself towards northern Ireland and north Wales through Saturday evening.
‘Could turn quite wet in the west midlands and Manchester area. Staying dull and dump in east Anglia to through the rest of the evening and the south-east. If you’re under the zone it’s going to be a cool, cloudy dismal day.’
Lightning near St Mary’s lighthouse in Whitley Bay, north east England early this morning. A weather warning has been extended for Sunday to alert the public that swathes of Scotland and England, with the exception of the South West region, could be hit by heavy rain
After a week in which Britain has been hit by hot temperatures and thunderstorms, heavy rainfall could now bring flooding and more disruption (pictured, lightning near St Mary’s lighthouse in Whitley Bay, north east England this morning)
Heavy rain is expected over the weekend, with a yellow warning in place for large swathes of the country. The rain is expected to bring flooding on roads and potential power cuts
Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said: ‘If you’re stuck under this rain and thick cloud, temperatures are really going to struggle. Mid-teens at best.
Commuters at Liverpool Street station in London were left facing delays and cancellations as they tried to get home last night
Dozens of people were also caught up in travel chaos in Manchester and had to stand on the tracks after a tram failed yesterday
Adults and children were pictured lying down on mats provided by staff at Heathrow at terminal 5 yesterday morning to try to get some rest while they waited for details on their flights
The weather warning is extended for Sunday to alert the public that swathes of Scotland and England, with the exception of the South West region, could be hit by heavy rain.
The Met Office warning states: ‘An area of rain is expected to move slowly and erratically north-westwards across parts of the UK on Saturday and Sunday, and while some places within the warning area may see very little others could see several hours of heavy rain.
‘Accumulations of 40-60mm are possible, with perhaps as much as 80-100mm in places, especially over high ground.’
It could see delays or cancellations to train and bus services, with homes and businesses flooded and damage caused to some buildings.
The change in weather comes after Thursday, which might have been the hottest day recorded in British history after 38.7C (101.66F) was measured at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens.
The Met Office said the new figure required further ‘quality control and analysis’ before being officially entered in the record books.
But if validated it will become the highest temperature officially recorded in the UK, outstripping the 38.5C in Faversham, Kent, in August 2003. Thursday beat the previous high for the month of 36.7C at Heathrow in July 2015.