BRITS have been warned that scorching highs of 35C may spark travel chaos on the roads and railways this weekend.
Network Rail has advised passengers to plan ahead as hot weather could push track temperatures above 50C and slow operations.
The RAC also warned that coastal and other tourist routes could be hit by breakdowns as the mercury rises.
Temperatures are forecast to reach up to 35C in some parts of the UK on Saturday, with emergency services issuing warnings and advice to the public to take care in the hot conditions.
A “tongue of fire” – the 1,500-mile wide heatwave scorching Europe – has already seen France endure its hottest day ever at 45.8C, as it inches closer to the UK.
And there is a chance today could be the hottest June day for 178 years, which is when the Met Office records began in 1841.
Forecasters said there is a 50% chance of breaking the June 35.6C record – set on June 29, 1957, in London and on June 28, 1976 in Southampton.
Met Office forecaster Nicola Maxey said: “There’s a 50 per cent chance of Saturday seeing over the 35.6C June record, most likely between London and Lincolnshire.
“Even York could see 32C. Friday had Glastonbury close to its 31.2C record.
“There’s remarkable heat across many parts of Europe, with highs in the 40s and records being broken.
“Saturday in the UK will be hot and sunny with very high UV, so take precautions, drink plenty of water and stay in the shade if you can.
“It’s cooler on Sunday in Atlantic air, with 26C highs.”
According to Network Rail, steel rails absorb heat easily and tend to hover about 20C above the surrounding air temperature.
In very hot conditions rails can flex, bend or even buckle, so trains have to run at slower speeds.
Mini weather stations and thousands of track-side probes help Network Rail monitor conditions.
Specialist weather forecasters help inform plans and in some parts rails are painted white to help keep them cooler.
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 as our dedicated teams of engineers work to fix the problem.
“It may mean your journey takes longer over some portions of your journey.
“We’d also remind passengers to carry some water with them so they don’t get too parched.”
RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous warned that the forecast conditions could be “a recipe for a soaring number of breakdowns in certain parts of the country”.
He added: “It’s a sad reality that some drivers will likely encounter an unwelcome and unscheduled stop at the side of the road – they will have to hope they can find some safe shelter from the sun, but it could still mean they suffer some day trip distress.”
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According to RAC data, call-outs increase by as much as 50% in some areas during hot weather.
Older or less-cared-for vehicles are most at risk, with breakdowns triggered by tyre blow-outs, overheating engines or people under-fuelling their cars.
“We also know from previous years that it’s roads to the beaches and other beauty spots like the moors, Lake District and highlands that see the largest numbers of stranded drivers,” Mr Aldous added.
Drivers are advised to check coolant and oil levels, tyre tread and pressure and to pack cold drinks for long journeys.
Network Rail has advised passengers to plan ahead as hot weather could push track temperatures above 50C and slow operations.[/caption]
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