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Rising temperatures causing transportation problems in London

Olympic flags wave outside the Millennium Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales, Tuesday, July 24, 2012.

Luca Bruno/AP

For months, it was too cold and way too wet. Now it's too hot. London, or parts thereof, can't win.

As temperatures reached 30C on Tuesday in southeastern England, after endless weeks of temperatures in the mid-teens, combined with endless drizzle, the transportation system at the Olympic Park in East London began to break down.

The electrical systems of some train lines, it appears, cannot handle such high temperatures, which is a bit of a problem with only three day to go before a deluge of spectators storm the gate for the opening ceremonies, not to mention a bit of an embarrassment for a country that, occasionally, gets very warm in the era of climate change.

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Greater Anglia, the company that runs trains from London's Liverpool Street station to destinations east of the city, including the Olympic site's Stratford stop, said that some services would be suspended, while others would not stop at Stratford, because of the heat.

The Guardian newspaper said heat affects the overhead electrical cables running out of the Liverpool station, some of which date back to the 1950s.

Transportation problems have been a sorry London feature this week. On Monday, London Underground's Central Line shut for two hours, though the problem had nothing to do with the weather. A power cut was at fault.

But for the most part, Londoners and the Olympic athletes are relieved that sun and heat have blessed soggy England. Only a couple of weeks ago, Olympic officials were warning the press and spectators to wear boots to the events, such as rowing and horse jumping, that involved standing around in muddy fields. And much to the crowds' delight, the beach volleyball players will have no excuse but to wear their skimpiest bathing suits.

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About the Author
European Columnist

Eric Reguly is the European columnist for The Globe and Mail and is based in Rome. Since 2007, when he moved to Europe, he has primarily covered economic and financial stories, ranging from the euro zone crisis and the bank bailouts to the rise and fall of Russia's oligarchs and the merger of Fiat and Chrysler. More

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