Bristol Temple Meads railway station shut by flash flooding

Flooding in Bristol
Image caption Police had to close Whitchurch Lane in Bishopsworth after several vehicles became stranded in floodwater

A number of train lines are blocked in the west of England due to flash flooding which led to a closure of Bristol's main railway station.

Great Western Railway (GWR) said "crowding and safety concerns" led to Temple Meads closing to arriving passengers. It has since reopened.

Network Rail added it had shut a "gate line" for a short time but the situation was now "looking calmer".

Passengers were advised not to travel on GWR's South Wales and West services.

Crosscountry Trains said all lines between Bristol and Taunton were blocked.

The Met Office has issued an amber severe weather warning for the whole of the South West. Persistent rain is due to continue accompanied by high winds.

Flooding in Chipping Sodbury led to London-Cardiff trains being cancelled, while services between Swindon and Bristol Parkway have also been diverted.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue has been called out to four times to rescue people from cars stuck in flood water in Blatchbridge near Frome, Dunster, Shepton Mallet and Somerton.

Image copyright Exmoor National Park Rangers
Image caption The middle section of of Tarr Steps in the Exmoor National Park was been washed away in storms over the weekend

In Bishopsworth in Bristol, Whitchurch Lane has been shut and many cars have been left stranded in floodwater.

Bristol City Council has said gullies blocked with leaves were being cleared to speed up the flow to floodwater off the streets. Some road closures were also in place.

The council spokesman added: "Our technical officers have already visited Whitchurch Lane, which is one of the worst affected areas in the city, and we are working with the Environment Agency to make sure the road is cleared as quickly as possible.

"They have confirmed that the unusual level of flooding is due to the nearby stream overflowing and continuous rainfall so their crews are bringing in special measures to deal with the situation."

In Somerset, an overflowing ford led to the closure of Chew Magna Primary School and residential flood defences have been put in place at properties that have a history of flooding on Streamside, Chew Terrace and The Batch.

Chew Stoke Church School has also been closed.

Dulverton Junior School, Dulverton All Saints infant school and North Newton Community Primary school were all closed after roads became impassable due to floodwater.

The central crossing stones of the Tarr Steps have also been washed away, four years after £10,000 was spent on re-instating them.

A spokeswoman for Exmoor National Park said: "The central slabs have been washed away, where the water is the deepest and the current strongest.

"Once the river level goes down we can usually find the stones as they are so big, they don't get far."

Wessex Bus and First Bus have also advised passengers to expect delays.

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Media captionHeavy rainfall left cars submerged on Whitchurch Lane in Bristol

Lee Gitsham, 43, set off for work at 08:00 GMT and was confronted by up to 3ft (1m) of water in Bishopsworth.

"I had to go through an alternative route because the bottom of the road was flooded," he said.

"Parked cars were submerged in water."

"It was at wing mirror level, so it must have been about 2ft to 3ft of water," he added.

The Environment Agency has issued a flood warning for the River Axe (Upper) from Winsham to Axminster, including Chard Junction and Weycroft, the River Isle from Chard Reservoir to Hambridge, the River Brue and Glastonbury Millstream from Lovington to Highbridge, and the River Tone from Waterrow to Taunton and the Horner Water.

A spokeswoman said: "Further rainfall is forecast today... Many areas will see 25 to 30 mm of rain in 12 hours, with some localised areas experiencing up to 60mm in total."

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