Tree blocking the West Coast main line after fire in Harrow, via Network Rail

Residual heatwave damage leaves line capacity reduced

Passengers of the West Coast main line are being urged to check National Rail Enquiries before they depart on their journeys as there are currently no direct trains between London and Scotland.

Journeys are expected to take much longer than normal due to the residual heatwave damage, meaning rail replacement buses and fewer trains will be running today (Wednesday 20 July). These precautions will be in place until the repair works have been completed on the damaged railway.

Rail engineers from Network Rail are currently working tirelessly to repair multiple sections of 25,000-volt overhead electric cables, which work to power trains along the route. These repair works will continue today in all locations, meaning that there will be significantly fewer trains running in and out of London Euston, with rail replacement buses in operation between Preston and Carlisle.

Network Rail teams have been working throughout the night trying to restore the power lines damaged:

  • Between Lancaster and Carnforth
  • At Harrow in North London
  • At Birmingham New Street
  • Near Wolverhampton

Avanti West Coast says its train services on other routes out of London Euston may also be cancelled.

James Dean, Network Rail’s West Coast South route director, said:

 “We’re sorry to passengers impacted by the damaged caused to our overhead electric lines during the record-breaking heat. Specialist teams worked all night but have been unable to fix the cables in time for the start of service this morning. We’re doing everything we can to get things back up and running. In the meantime, please check National Rail Enquiries before you set off on your journey as delays will continue today.”

People are advised that journeys will take longer, and trains could be busier while services return to normal after the unprecedented temperatures put a huge strain on the railway.

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