Flooding in London

Urgent rail repairs underway after London flash floods

Urgent repairs are underway following severe flash flooding in the capital, and rail passengers are being warned of changes to trains coming in and out of London Euston. The deluge happened on Monday 12 July, with almost 3 inches of rain falling in just under 90 minutes.

Floods can cause various issues. Some might include delays, as when water rises above the rails, trains must lower their speed to prevent damage to the train. They can also cause a short circuit and cut the power if the track has a live conductor rail.

The latest flash flood triggered an electricity substation to catch fire, consequently disabling London Overground services to Watford. Crucial maintenance is now necessary to pump away any remaining standing water and fix cables damaged in the electrical fire.

Network Rail’s West Coast South Route Director James Dean said: “I’m sorry that your journeys have been disrupted this week. Our engineers will be making critical repairs on Wednesday night.”

“The floods made the railway look like a swimming pool, but with 750 volts of electricity running through it. We’ve had to make the site safe before going in and pumping away the remaining flood water and repairing the dire damage.”

Trackside points and signalling rely on elaborate wiring and power supplies that can fail during flooding and must be replaced before trains can run again. As lines are renewed in flood prone areas, Network Rail will install tracks and signalling equipment at a higher level to reduce the risk of them being flooded again.

Due to reparatory works, all lines out of London Euston will be closed between 11pm on Wednesday 14 July, and 6am on Thursday 15 July. Passengers are also being asked to travel early on Wednesday evening.

The urgent repairs will impact Avanti West Coast, London Northwestern Railway, Caledonian Sleeper and London Overground passengers at the end of today and first thing on Thursday morning. Disruptions will be kept to a minimum and Network Rail are working hard to get passengers back on track as soon as possible. 

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