UK

UK weather: Rail passengers face continued disruption

Train Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Rail companies around the UK are struggling to restore normal schedules

Rail passengers are facing continued disruption as weather warnings for snow and icy roads remain in place across much of the UK.

Thousands of people remain without power and motorists have also been warned of delays on the roads.

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency has 16 flood warnings in place in south-west and north-east England as temperatures are forecast to increase.

Many rail lines across the UK are still blocked with widespread cancellations.

Network Rail has urged people in London, the north-east of England and the East Midlands to only travel if "absolutely necessary".

Virgin Trains East Coast has resumed services between Newcastle and Scotland but advised customers not to travel unless it was essential.

Great Western Railway also advised passengers not to travel unless the journey is "unavoidable" while most rail companies urged people to check before travelling.

What is happening with the trains?

National Rail has been advising passengers to check their service before travelling while many operators are running to a reduced timetable.

  • The Virgin Trains East Coast line will run a normal Sunday timetable with some alterations
  • There will be no service on Virgin's West Coast route between Carlisle and Scotland on Sunday but replacement bus services will be running
  • Arriva Train Wales said trains continue to be "severely impacted with extensive cancellations"
  • Certain Great Western Railway services have been suspended including routes between Portsmouth and Brighton and Westbury and Swindon
  • On the Northern network, the Leeds to Carlisle/ Lancaster route will be suspended until Monday
  • ScotRail plans to run a "near normal service" with some "minor alterations"
  • CrossCountry will run its timetabled service except for four routes including the Edinburgh to Birmingham line

The Met Office currently has two active yellow warnings in place, covering large areas of the UK.

One, which warns of further snow, is in place for north-east England and much of Scotland all day on Saturday.

The second warning - in force until 11:00 GMT on Sunday - is for ice in south-east England, the Midlands, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Another yellow warning for snow and ice has been issued for parts of north-east England and Scotland from Sunday until Monday.

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Media captionThree easy tips for driving in the snow

Meanwhile, an independent investigation will be launched after passengers stuck on four stranded Southeastern trains in Lewisham, south London, "forced open" the carriage doors and walked along the tracks.

The rail company has apologised to all passengers involved and offered compensation, explaining that trains ground to a halt because of power supply problems caused by ice.

But the incident sparked a warning from the British Transport Police which said people who self-evacuate are "risking their lives" while Southeastern said the passengers could have been electrocuted.

In Scotland, government ministers have asked for volunteers to help in clearing up local roads and pavements, and checking on vulnerable people.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Huge snow drifts accumulated by the side of a country road near Bath
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sub-zero temperatures left the Kennet and Avon Canal frozen
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A gritting lorry clears snow on the A672 near the M62 motorway

There will be a gradual rise in temperatures, with 7C predicted in Plymouth, but it will remain cold in the north.

Twelve flood warnings are in place in Devon, Cornwall and elsewhere on the south coast, while two are in the North East.

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Media captionToday's forecast: Freezing rain and some snow expected

They all apply to coastal regions, due to large waves caused by spring tides and strong onshore winds.

In Dawlish, Devon, the coastal rail line reopened after being closed on Saturday morning, due to flooding caused by high tides.

Network Rail said it has teams working to prepare areas at risk of flooding.

In Holyhead in Wales, 87 boats broke their moorings as a result of the high winds caused by Storm Emma on Friday.

Meanwhile, thousands of trains are set to be cancelled in another day of travel disruption, as more than 20 rail operators are running a reduced service.

Scotland is facing significant issues along its rail network after receiving the heaviest snowfall, and some of the coldest conditions, in the UK.

The West Coast Mainline to England remains closed, and Virgin Trains East Coast is not running any services north of Newcastle.

ScotRail said snow ploughs were tackling drifts as high as 10ft (3m).

Major incidents was also declared in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Avon and Somerset, as blizzards brought roads to a standstill.

On Saturday morning a lorry jack-knifed on junction 34 of the M4 in Wales, and Stagecoach suspended all its buses across the country due to the poor weather.

However, the M62 in Greater Manchester reopened in the early hours of Saturday, having been shut for more than a day due to severe weather conditions.

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Media captionHow farmers are coping with the snow

Police rescued a couple and two dogs after they were trapped by a 12ft (3.6m) snow drift in their home in the Scottish Borders.

In England, the Premier League has said all its football matches are expected to go ahead despite the weather. However, a number of games in the Championship and the Scottish Premiership have been postponed.

How are the airports affected?

Image copyright PA

Many airports have now reopened and flights are resuming but some issues still remain and passengers are being advised to check with their airlines.

  • Glasgow Airport: The airport is open after "the worst snowfall in its history" but there are "some delays"
  • Cardiff Airport: There will be a knock-on impact on flights as a result of the weather
  • Bristol Airport: The airport is operational however flights could be disrupted. Snow in the airport car park means travellers could face longer queues

Major incidents was also declared in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Avon and Somerset, as blizzards brought roads to a standstill.

On Saturday morning a lorry jack-knifed on junction 34 of the M4 in Wales, and Stagecoach suspended all its buses across the country due to the poor weather.

However, the M62 in Greater Manchester reopened in the early hours of Saturday, having been shut for more than a day due to severe weather conditions.

Police rescued a couple and two dogs after they were trapped by a 12ft (3.6m) snow drift in their home in the Scottish Borders.

In England, the Premier League has said all its football matches are expected to go ahead despite the weather. However, a number of games in the Championship and the Scottish Premiership have been postponed.

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