BEACHGOERS in Kent have been warned to avoid rail travel at peak times as operators fear overcrowded trains.
With Britain in the grip of a sweltering heatwave, Southeastern trains has issued the advice as people flock to the seaside resorts in the county like Margate, Broadstairs, Folkestone, Herne Bay and Whitstable.
The rail company is warning customers to avoid peak times to travel in a bid to keep cool.
It is adding more carriages to busy routes to ensure fresh air flows through all trains.
Southeastern says its services will be busiest as people head to the beach between 10.30am and 1.30pm, and then return home between 4pm and 7pm, so is advising passengers to avoid these times, if possible.
A “crowdbuster” train will also be on standby between Faversham and Ramsgate with extra staff on hand as well.
The company has also warned travellers to expect slower trains and one-way queues at busy stations.
A spokesperson said: “When the temperature soars, things really heat up for our rail infrastructure – and it can’t cool down with a cheeky pint or an ice cream.
“Metal rails in direct sunshine can be as much as 20°C hotter than air temperature, and have been known to get as hot as 50°C.
"And because they’re made from steel – they expand when they heat up, so rails may buckle, and points can expand.
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“When our monitoring systems tell us that a section of track is likely to expand, we’ll put in place speed restrictions to reduce the chance of rails buckling, so you may find your journey a little slower than usual.
“We work with Network Rail well in advance to make sure that your railway is ‘hot weather ready’, then keep a close eye on the forecast and check the infrastructure throughout the summer.”
Temperatures on Thursday hit a high of 32.6C.
It comes as Saturday was provisionally the hottest day of the year so far, with 33,2C recorded in Kew Gardens, the Met Office said.
Meanwhile, the mercury is expected to once again break the 30C mark today.
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