Thursday 17 January 2019 3:16 pm

London Waterloo trains and tracks to be de-iced as Network Rail prepares for colder weather

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Special de-icing trains will run overnight to prevent the UK’s rail infrastructure freezing to a standstill as temperatures are expected to plummet in the coming weeks.

South Western Railway will run its so-called ghost trains all night to clear tracks of snow and ice and spray passenger doors with de-icer to prevent them from jamming.

Read more: Train operator tells commuters to avoid London Waterloo travel chaos

Network Rail will also send eight heavy duty de-icing vehicles to clear train lines from London Waterloo all the way down to the south coast.

The multi-purpose vehicles will travel 67,000 miles – the equivalent of going round the world two-and-a-half times – until the end of March.

“We have been working hard with South Western Railway, and our other train operators, to prepare for cold weather on this route so we can keep our passengers moving when the temperature falls,” said David Dickson, chief operating offer for Network Rail’s Wessex route.

“We will also have extra teams of people on the ground to respond to incidents and carry out regular inspections of our infrastructure throughout the winter period,” he added.

Network Rail will rely on real-time weather data from a string of monitoring stations to react to adverse conditions quickly, it said, and assess how they impact rail tracks and other infrastructure.

The measures comes as rail bosses prepare for a cold snap that could see temperatures plunge with snowfall across many regions around the UK.

The Met Office has warned that snow and ice are likely to affect much of eastern England overnight, making road and rail travel more arduous for commuters.


Meanwhile Londoners saw snowfall this morning in south east areas like Croydon as well as further afield including High Wycombe.

Read more: Crossrail starts running test trains again after months of delays

Rain, sleet and snow are expected from next week while “very cold weather” will see temperatures drop in February, bringing with it a greater risk of snow in the south of England.

Alan Penlington, customer experience director for South Western Railway, said: “We work with Network Rail round the clock to keep our trains moving but when extreme weather does hit our network, they can be subject to speed restrictions or short notice timetable revisions.”

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