With UK heat records expected to be broken tomorrow (25 July), Network Rail activated its extreme weather response teams in the North West and Central Region (Euston to Carlisle).

The hot weather, particularly direct sunlight, can cause track temperatures to rise to more than 50°C.

When steel becomes very hot it expands and rails can bend, flex and, in serious cases, buckle. As a precaution, trains have to run at slower speeds.

Railway staff were today preparing for this challenge on the West Coast main line south of Crewe, in the West Midlands and on the Chiltern line.

James Dean, chief operating officer for North West and Central, said: “Keeping passengers moving is always our top priority. But we want people to be prepared. If the soaring temperatures do lead to us having to put in place slower speeds for safety reasons, please bear with us our engineers work to fix the problem. It may mean some journeys take longer.

“For those who must travel by rail, we’d remind people to carry some water with them so they don’t get too parched, and always check before travelling so they know exactly what to expect.”

For more information on how Network Rail deals with the hot weather visit www.networkrail.co.uk/how-we-prevent-tracks-from-getting-too-hot/.

Passengers are advised to check before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk.