CrossCountry passenger train hits tree in Devon

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Media captionDevon and Cornwall Police said it had received more than 200 calls related to the weather in a 24-hour period.

A train struck a fallen tree in Devon - brought down as the high winds swept across the south-west of England.

The CrossCountry service which had no passengers on board, hit the tree near Ivybridge. The driver was not injured in the incident.

Overnight, several homes were flooded across Devon and Cornwall and numerous roads were closed by fallen trees.

Power cuts affected more than 5,000 homes across the South West, including in Plymouth and Exeter.

Richard Gibson, from CrossCountry, said: "The train hit a tree, or part of a tree, which was across the line.

"The train was empty - it was going to form part of the 07:02 Paignton to Manchester service."

Rail services were delayed between Plymouth and Exeter.

First Great Western said: "We are running as many services as we possibly can. As long as it is safe to do so we will run them."

Devon and Cornwall Police said it had received more than 200 calls related to the weather in a 24-hour period.

Officers said up to 85 reports of flooding had been made in Plymouth, which included roads and some properties.

'Tarmac moved'

Devon's emergency control room said numerous main roads in the county had been blocked by fallen trees and some had been damaged by flood water, making driving conditions extremely difficult.

A spokesman told BBC News it was "pretty inundated" while dealing with a "rapidly changing situation".

About 400 trees are believed to have come down around Devon as result of the weather, the control room added.

Acting Ch Insp Robin Hogg, of Devon and Cornwall Police, based in Truro, said: "We were fully prepared for more significant impact and more significant damage."

Image caption Wayne Blatchford said a large tree missed his home by "a couple of feet" when it was uprooted overnight
Image caption Numerous roads across the South West have been affected by fallen trees and flooding
Image caption A road was blocked by fallen tree at Rockbeare in east Devon
Image caption The River Taw, near Chulmleigh in Devon, saw high water levels

Brian Hayne, whose van was damaged when he hit a section of road damaged by flood water between Hatherleigh and Great Torrington, said: "The road has been blown by water which has seeped through and actually moved the tarmac.

"There's great chunks of it - about 12ft (3.7m) by 4ft (1.2m) wide - all broken up.

"I ran over it with my van, it blew out my tyre and the tyre came off its rim."

He said that, after being left stuck, he stood in the middle of the road "just making sure nobody else comes over and has the same sort of accident".

In Devon, the county council said drivers should remain cautious because there may be incidents which had not yet been reported on roads.

They were also warned of possible potholes underneath surface water.

Ferry services cancelled

BBC Weather presenter Emily Wood said: "The strength of the wind peaked at Berry Head in Devon at 02:00 GMT with gusts of 66mph (106km/h) reported.

"Okehampton in Devon recorded 32.2mm of rain overnight.

"The strongest winds have started to ease, although some gusts of 30 to 40mph (48 to 64km/h) are possible later with some heavy showers."

The Environment Agency has issued flood alerts across the South West.

Brittany Ferries cancelled services between Plymouth and Roscoff and services on the Scillonian ferry, which operates between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly, were also called off.

The Tamar Bridge, which connects Devon and Cornwall, was closed overnight but later reopened.

The Falmouth Water Taxi service was cancelled until at least Tuesday, managers said.

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