Flights have been cancelled and rail travellers face delays after the UK experienced record temperatures, thunderstorms and heavy rainfall.
East Midlands Trains (EMT) told people to expect a significantly reduced service in and out of London at the weekend after serious damage was caused to an overhead line, while the rate of arrivals was temporarily restricted at airports.
Rail passengers were told to check before embarking on their journeys and advised not to travel on the London St Pancras-Nottingham-Sheffield route. Meanwhile, replacement coaches and revised timetables were in place due to industrial action taken by senior conductors from the RMT union over pay and working conditions.
On Saturday, EMT apologised to passengers and advised that the ongoing disruption to services on the Midland mainline route to London would continue during the weekend.
“We’re sorry to everybody who has experienced disrupted journeys over the past two days,” Jake Kelly, EMT managing director, said. “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.”
St Pancras station in London had experienced severe disruption, after Eurostar services were cancelled on Friday and overhead line equipment near West Hampstead was damaged, but services to the continent had returned to normal on Saturday, and the large majority of domestic trains were running on time.
Air traffic control operator Nats said a technical problem with a system at Swanwick air traffic control centre was identified shortly after noon on Friday, which had restricted the rate of arrivals. A Heathrow spokesman said the technical issue, which caused a number of cancellations and led passengers to sleep in impromptu beds around the airport overnight, had since been resolved. “We apologise to passengers for any disruption that this caused.”
Gatwick said: “We aim to run a normal schedule [on Saturday], however due to ongoing adverse weather across Europe, passengers are advised to check with their airlines for the latest information.”
It comes after the UK recorded maximum temperatures of 38.1C (100.6F) on Thursday – the second hottest day on record – while record highs were experienced in a number of western European countries.
The Met Office is investigating whether the 38.5C all-time record from 2003 has been surpassed, after it received a provisional recording of 38.7C at Cambridge Botanic Garden, before the weather turned to downpours and storms.
A yellow weather warning for rain covering vast swaths of Scotland and England, with the exception of the south-west region, was issued until Sunday afternoon.
UK weather: heavy rain and high temperatures bring travel chaos – The Guardian