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‘The US Is Not Prepared’: Hot Temperatures Stress Transit Systems

As heat waves ravage parts of the US and the UK, rail infrastructure is at risk of buckling

Screens displaying train cancellation information due to extreme weather during a heat wave at London King's Cross railway station in London, on July 19.
Screens displaying train cancellation information due to extreme weather during a heat wave at London King's Cross railway station in London, on July 19.Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

With temperatures soaring beyond 40°C (100°F) in the United Kingdom and in the United States, civil engineers and transit authorities say the heat is threatening rail networks across both countries. 

Officials with London’s subway mandated temporary speed limits and preemptively canceled services on parts of the city’s tube system earlier this week over fears that the rails could bend or buckle. Across the pond, Amtrak imposed “heat-related” speed restrictions within its Northeast Corridor service between New York and Philadelphia earlier this month.