Fifth day of rail disruption due to heatwave damage

Disruption to train services due to damage caused by last week’s heatwave is continuing for a fifth day.

Thameslink is being forced to run a reduced service until overhead electric wires are fixed in the West Hampstead area of north-west London.

Network Rail said its engineers have been “working around the clock” since the wires were damaged by scorching temperatures on Thursday.

The government-owned company discovered over the weekend that the scope of the work was “larger than previously anticipated” and involves replacing around 2km (1.2 miles) of equipment.

Work has progressed far enough to allow East Midlands Trains – which serves London St Pancras – to resume a full service.

But Thameslink services could continue to be disrupted beyond Monday.

The affected routes include:

– Between St Albans and Sutton
– Between Luton and Rainham
– Between Bedford and Gatwick Airport
– Between Bedford and Brighton

Overhead wires were damaged in several locations across England on Thursday as temperatures exceeded 38C.

Rob McIntosh, managing director of Network Rail Eastern, said he is “very sorry that some passengers are continuing to see disruption”.

He went on: “Network Rail engineers worked around the clock over the weekend to restore services ahead of the working week.

“Unfortunately, the discovery of previously unidentified damage to wiring means we now need more time to work on the track.

“I know how disruptive this is to our passengers and I’m sorry we haven’t been able to fully reopen the line.

“We are working as hard as we can to finish the repair work and to reduce disruption for customers.”

Passengers are being urged to consult train operators or National Rail Enquiries before starting their journeys, and allow additional travel time.

Thameslink initially said it would refuse to pay compensation to season ticket holders who took its advice not to travel during the heatwave.

But it changed its stance amid pressure from passenger groups that train companies should “do the right thing” and pay out.

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