Extreme heat to cause rail disruption across SWR network

Friday 15th July 2022
  • Met Office red weather warning as temperatures forecast to reach up to 40°C
  • Rail customers across country urged to only travel if absolutely necessary
  • Speed restrictions to protect safety will cause cancellations and delays on SWR mainline and service reductions
  • Customers who have to travel urged to check journey planners from Monday 

Network Rail has urged rail customers across the country to only travel if absolutely necessary on Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 July due to forecasts of extreme heat. 

Temperatures are expected to reach up to 40°C in London and the surrounding area, and the mid 30s in the western parts of our network. As rail temperatures can be up to 20°C higher than the air around them, there is a risk of them buckling in the extreme heat.   

As a result, Network Rail will introduce speed restrictions across the network to minimise the force on the tracks and reduce the chance of buckling. These speed restrictions will in turn make journeys longer and SWR will introduce a reduced service on Monday and Tuesday in a bid to give customers certainty on what will run.  

The speed restrictions will particularly affect our mainline services, with long-distance services to Exeter, Salisbury, Bournemouth, Weymouth, Southampton and Portsmouth most likely to be impacted. 

Service changes are likely to appear in journey planners at short notice, so anyone who chooses to travel despite the warnings on Monday or Tuesday is urged to check their journey before setting off and to expect last minute delays and cancellations.  

Customers are also urged to carry water with them, to cover up and to wear sunscreen when travelling.  

Commenting, SWR’s Customer Experience Director, Christian Neill, said:  

“These unprecedented temperatures will pose a significant challenge to the national railway infrastructure and we’re sorry for the impact they will have on our services on Monday and Tuesday.  

“Network Rail is urging customers to only travel if absolutely necessary and anyone who has to travel should expect longer journey times, short-notice cancellations and disruption. 

“We are working on a reduced timetable that provides certainty for our customers, but changes are likely to come at relatively short notice, so if you do choose to travel, please check your journey as close to your time of travel as possible.”  

To help customers, SWR is allowing people with tickets for travel on its services on Monday and Tuesday to travel on Wednesday and Thursday instead. 

If you choose to delay your travel, please note that the original ticket restrictions will still apply. If you are using an Advance Purchase ticket, please travel as close to the original departure time as possible or make use of Book With Confidence.

If you have a daily ticket (single, return, Advance or non-season travelcard) for travel on Monday 18 or Tuesday 19 July, and you decide not to travel because the service you originally intended to travel on is no longer running or has been retimed, you will be able to claim a fee-free refund. Your ticket should be submitted for refund within 28 days of expiry. Full details of how to apply can be found here. 

If you bought your ticket from another train company or online retailer, refunds should be claimed through them directly.

Season Ticket and Flexi Ticket holders

For Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 July, if you were unable to travel or followed our advice and chose not to travel due, you can claim compensation through our Delay Repay scheme. You should make one claim of 120+ minutes which will provide you with the value of one day’s travel. This only applies to monthly and longer season ticket holders. Flexi ticket holders must have activated a days' worth of travel. This can be done using the National Rail Smartcard app which can be downloaded for free from play stores.

You need to apply for compensation online within 28 days of the intended travel date.

Further information

For Network Rail’s nationwide travel message, visit: https://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/news/rail-passengers-in-england-and-wales-warned-to-only-travel-if-necessary-ahead-of-soaring-temperatures  

To check our latest travel information, visit: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey  

For more information on the extreme weather, visit: www.metoffice.gov.uk 

For further hot weather travel advice, visit: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/travelling-with-us/hot-weather  

Information about Book With Confidence can be found here: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/book-with-confidence