Public transport overheating?

Transport for London has set out what it's doing to cool tube, rail and bus services during the summer heat. However, London's newest "Boris Bus" has been blighted with reports of problems with air conditioning.

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"Embarrassment" over Boris Bus overheating


Why does the heat affect the train tracks?

In an article posted on the company's website, South West Trains explained why the heat was affecting their services.

Very hot weather can have an impact on the train service we can deliver. As with all metals, the track we use to run our trains expands and contracts depending on its temperature, i.e. the hotter it gets, the more it expands. Just like a car on a warm day, the metal can reach temperatures far in excess of the surrounding air temperature.

Whilst we carry out a significant amount of work to prepare for the impact of hot weather by using hydraulic machines to artificially stress the rails to cope with high temperatures, over the weekend we have seen temperatures on our tracks of almost 50oc. The ageing condition of our infrastructure has meant that despite the preparation work that has taken place, we have had to impose speed restrictions at certain locations on our network

– South West Trains

Delays expected to continue for a 'couple of hours'

South West Trains says that the speed restrictions have now been lifted, but that the delays will continue for a couple of hours.

Heat creates scenes of chaos at Waterloo

The concourse at Waterloo was packed with frustrated commuters this evening, as services were affected by the hot weather.

South West Trains put speed restrictions in place between Clapham Junction and Waterloo - because the tracks were struggling to cope with surface temperatures approaching 50 degrees Celsius.

Trains were limited to 20 miles an hour, with many services delayed, cancelled or altered.

The councourse at Waterloo was packed with commuters this evening. Credit: Dan Faulks/ITN

Just exactly how hot is it on the new Boris buses?

We've recorded the temperature onboard a 38 bus between Grays Inn Road/Holborn and Essex Road, Islington this afternoon. Our Political Correspondent Simon Harris's tweets accompany each image.

On Friday, the Mayor Boris Johnson promised to fix the problem, and Transport for London claimed an 'army of engineers' would work throughout the weekend to get the air conditioning working.

But many commuters have complained that the top deck of the new bus for London is still "unbearable"

Simon: "Top deck of Boris Bus on No 38 route and the temperature is above 30 deg C" Credit: Simon Harris/ITN
Simon:"Temperature is going up" Credit: Simon Harris/ITN
Simon: "Bizarrely, The further north we go, the higher the temp" Credit: Simon Harris/ITN
Simon:"Right, had enough of this mobile sauna, getting off at the next stop" Credit: Simon Harris/ITN


Simon Harris records onboard bus temperature

Windows don't open on New Bus for London

Windows don't open on the New Bus for London Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Windows on the New Bus for London don't open because it prevents the air cooling system from working, says Transport for London - a disaster for passengers when the air cooling system doesn't work in summer temperatures.

TfL says ‘air-conditioning’ is ruled out on buses because the unit would make buses heavier and mean they consume extra fuel making them less environmentally friendly.

Some London buses – including the New Bus - have air cooling, where air is streamed through the upper deck.

TfL says that where vehicles are fitted with air cooling, opening windows detract from the cooling by dissipating the flow of air; so on New Bus for London vehicles the windows don't open.

Mike Weston, Operations Director for London Buses, said:

“We are aware of some technical issues with the ventilation and air cooling system on some of the New Bus for London vehicles on Route 24. Our suppliers are working to fix the issue as soon as possible.

When the air chill system is fully operational we are finding temperature levels are comparable to other buses in our fleet fitted with a similar system.

As you would expect with the introduction of a large fleet of new buses, there will be teething problems and we are working hard to minimise the impact of these on our passengers.”

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