UK Heatwave: Birmingham New Street train services delayed

Train services at Birmingham New Street were brought to a halt yesterday as electrical lines were damanged in the heatwave

All trains in and out of Birmingham New Street were stopped yesterday due to an electrical line fault caused by the scorching temperatures - and there has been significant disruption to services on Wednesday (20 July).

Due to the extreme heat of up to almost 40C in Birmingham on Tuesday (19 July) afternoon, there was disruption across the network, with five trains stranded and unable to reach New Street platforms. Power was switched off with the 25,000 volt overhead lines which power the trains.

Network Rail engineers are continuing work to fix the issue this morning Wednesday (July 20) and have advised passengers that services are delayed and to check with individual train companies before heading out to travel. Some trains are now running to and from New Street station, although passengers are advised to expect disruption across the network due to the damage from extreme heat.

Speed restrictions are in place on some routes as Network Rail are working to fix repairs on the tracks. West Midlands Railway tickets valid for today (Wednesday), can be used tomorrow (Thursday 21 July) and Friday (22 July). Customers may also be entitled to a refund.

What’s been said about the situation?

Yesterday passengers weren’t able to get into the station, and were urged not to travel due to the heat. A statement from Chris Halpin from Network Rail on Tuesday, said: “We are finding it very challenging to run a railway at the moment in these unprecedented temperatures, so we are asking people not to travel at this time.

“We are struggling wth things like te rails overheating and also our metal components which make the 25,000 vault electric lines also overheating and these very very high temperatures. Our advice is do not travel we are having to close some routes, we are running any trains which we can run very slowly.”

Grand Central Train Station and New Street Mall Birmingham UK
Grand Central Train Station and New Street Mall Birmingham UK
Grand Central Train Station and New Street Mall Birmingham UK

Jonny Wiseman, WMR customer experience director, said: “We are advising passengers to amend plans if possible and check their journeys in advance as the railway recovers from damage to overhead wires and tracks. Network Rail are working to fix repairs and we hope to have our services running normally as soon as possible.

“If you have a ticket for travel on Wednesday 20 July, you can use this on either Thursday 21 July or Friday 22 July.”

All services between Smethwick Galton Bridge and Birmingham Snow Hill have were also cancelled on Tuesday due to signalling issues. A tweet from West Midlands Railway on Tuesday, read: “Cancellations to services between Smethwick Galton Bdg H.L. and Birmingham Snow Hill: Due to a fault with the signalling system between Smethwick Galton Bdg H.L. and Birmingham Snow Hill all lines are blocked.”

Travellers ‘anxious’ and ‘worried’ as rail services cancelled due to heatwave

Lee Ball was trying to travel with his wife, Libby, and 10-year-old daughter, Amelie, from their home in Droitwich, Worcestershire, to London Euston as part of a journey to Brussels for an Ed Sheeran concert.

The 46-year-old said their train from Droitwich to Birmingham New Street was cancelled with less than 30 minutes’ notice so they drove to Birmingham International, where they have been left waiting for hours.

He said: “I’ve been up since 4.30am, anxious, trying to get an answer from anywhere we can. I was monitoring trains this morning from Birmingham New Street to London Euston and one was literally cancelled with five minutes’ notice.”

He added that communication from the train companies has been “appalling”.

“It’s massive, massive anxiety,” he said. “Not being able to sleep, 4am this morning, fretting, seeing if there had been any updates.”

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