A portion of railway tracks London burst into flames on Monday (July 11) after a spark ignited timber beams caused by extreme heat.
The blaze was spotted on a bridge between Wandsworth Road and London Victoria in South London, prompting the authorities to suspend services between Victoria and Brixton.
According to MailOnline, Network Rail have launched an investigation into the incident which was allegedly caused by a “stray spark” prompted by extreme weather conditions.
A spokesman said: “With extremely hot temperatures expected this week, our specialist weather teams will be monitoring key hotspot locations to make sure we can keep services running safely and reliably for passengers.” They also warned that the hot weather could cause lines to “expand and sometimes buckle” and that speed restrictions would be in place across some services.
Sharing an image of the blaze online, Steve White, managing director of Southeastern Railway, thanked emergency services for their prompt response:
When questioned by Twitter users about exactly how the tracks had caught ablaze, Network Rail explained: “Wheel timbers on the bridge caught fire—they are very dry as you would imagine, and although we don’t know for sure, it’s possible a stray spark set them alight.”
Network Rail went on to assure that an inspection had “passed the line fit for operation”, adding that it would be looking into potentially replacing the tracks in the wake of the incident.
The organisation is also thought to be monitoring tracks that could potentially warp or buckle amid the rising temperatures, adding: “When the air temperature reaches 30 degrees, the temperature on the rail can actually be up to 20 degrees higher. For some of our track, such high temperatures are more than our track is designed to cope with, however. The problem is that when steel rails get hot, they expand, which can cause a buckled rail.”
Forecasters have suggested the current heatwave could break the record for the hottest day in 2022 so far, which currently stands at 32.7°C recorded at Heathrow in June.