Dry weather through to autumn?

By Cedric Johns

RECORD-breaking high temperatures and dry weather, which has resulted in Network Rail issuing an edict saying that main line steam hauled trains be worked by accompanying diesels,
is likely to stay until the autumn.

According to the Met Office’s three-month forecasts briefed to local authorities and transport organisations for the period August to October, above average temperatures are more likely to fall into the warmest of five categories used to predict long-range weather patterns.

Many steam workings have been assisted by diesel traction because of the hot, dry spell. Here, Stanier 8F 2-8-0 No 48151 double-heads fellow West Coast-operated Class 47 diesel No. 47237 with a southbound ‘Dalesman’ to Chester on July 17. MATT EVANS

On August 6, a Met Office spokesman said: “The South East will have above average dry temperatures until the end of the (August) month. We may see occasional breaks, but it looks like the following weeks we will get high pressure again, with temperatures reaching the 80Fs.”

The Met Office then predicted the warmer dry weather is set to last well into the autumn.

If the experts are right, it means railtour promoters and train operating companies will have to continue to run excursions with a diesel positioned inside steam locomotives, incurring extra operating costs and a high degree of day-to-day servicing to ensure the constant availability of diesel power, and for that matter, drivers and guards.

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