Passengers injured as train hits tree after storms
- 5 January 2012
- From the section Scotland
Two rail passengers have been injured after a train hit a tree on a line as weather-related disruption continued across Scotland.
The 06:47 Inverness to Edinburgh service was involved in the incident just north of Dunkeld, in Perthshire.
Network Rail said it had mounted an "unprecedented" operation to clear thousands of fallen trees from lines.
Meanwhile, thousands of properties remained without power following Tuesday's violent storms.
Gusts reached more than 100mph as the gales battered the country, damaging buildings and hitting transport.
Further high winds on Wednesday night, with some gusts reaching 75mph, hampered efforts to restore supplies and caused further power cuts.
Scottish Power said on Thursday evening it was working to re-connect 5,000 of its customers.
And, in Argyll and Bute, Scottish Hydro worked with the local council and government to restore power to about 9,000 homes who were left without electricity and communications.
The problems left the island of Bute and the Isle of Cumbrae, in the Firth of Clyde, without power, and most landline telephones were off.
Iain Donald, who works for local radio station Bute FM, said he had spoken to engineers on the ground who said the main power line between Colintraive and Rhubodach had shut down after a sea water breach.
He said when the main line had been switched back on following repair work, it had shorted and blown both the main and a reserve line.
However, power was finally reconnected to almost 8,200 Scottish Hydro customers, at about 19:45.
A spokesman said about 800 customers could be without power until Friday.
Argyll and Bute Council had set up a community rescue in the Rothesay pavilion, while Scottish Hydro decided to install two mobile generation units in Rothesay, as worked continued to restore power.
'Windows caved in'
ScotRail said the incident involving the train, which was carrying 45 passengers and four members of staff, happened at about 08:18.
It later arrived at Dunkeld station, where onward transport was arranged for passengers.
The incident, which left two passengers with minor injuries, disrupted services between Inverness and Perth. It is not known how fast the train was travelling when it hit the tree.
Passenger Alan Zycinski told BBC Scotland the sudden collision had left people "scared" and "shocked".
"There was just a huge bump and then all the lights went out and some of the windows caved in," he said.
"I thought we'd derailed or something but there was a tree across the line and we hit it."
The train then stopped for about 40 minutes before moving onto Dunkeld.
"I think one man was hit in the arm by a branch but no-one was seriously hurt," the passenger added.
David Simpson, from Network Rail, earlier told BBC Scotland that most services were back to normal after staff worked overnight to deal with the effects of the weather.
He said: "This has been unprecedented.
"We've cleared thousands of trees from across the whole network - nearly 900 on one stretch of line in Fife alone through Markinch, where there was almost a horizontal forest of trees running over almost a quarter mile of railway.
"The extent of damage across the whole network, in terms of trees, overhead cable damage, damage along sea walls and so forth, we've not seen that for many, many years."
The power cuts also caused problems at a sewage pumping station at Bishopton in Renfrewshire. The station became backed up, causing sewage to pour into the local river system.
David Woodrow, chairman of Bishopton Community Council, said: "The problem is there is no power to the pumping station. The sewage has to go somewhere so it's going onto the fields round about the village.
"The biggest impact is probably environmental."
Scottish Water said it was working to fix the problem as soon as possible.
Scottish Power said anyone who had not had any power for more than 48 hours was entitled to compensation.
Guy Jefferson, from Scottish Power, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that about 3,000 extra faults came in on Wednesday night but most of those customers had their power restored.
He said that just under 7,000 customers had no supply overnight but that 700 staff were carrying out repairs.
"We did have further bad weather last night, and we had to step back from a number of jobs we were working on because of safety reasons," he said.
"A number of extra faults came in - around 3,000 customers affected, the vast majority got back on.
"Overall just under 7,000 customers are still off line, but our target is to get everyone back on today."
At the height of the storms, more than 100,000 properties were left without power.
By about 20:00 on Thursday, Scottish Power said about 3,000 homes remained without power, but engineers were "making rapid progress".
The stormy weather also saw damage to buildings, while roads were blocked, bridges closed and flights and ferries cancelled.
And there were icy conditions in central Scotland and snow on higher stretches of the A9.
At the peak of the storm, gusts of 102mph were recorded at Blackford Hill in Edinburgh, with winds reaching 97mph in Bishopton and 91mph on Islay.
Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown, said: "There's been a huge amount of work done by Network Rail, over 350 teams out to make sure they can clear all the trees, which have been causing obstructions.
"So there's a lot of work ongoing to make sure everything gets back to normal."