Kent snowfall disruption rail and road travel

Snow in Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Image caption More snow is forecast to fall during Friday and over the weekend in west Kent

Motorists and rail passengers in west Kent are facing travel disruption as snow falls in the county, with more forecast later.

Thirteen schools were closed or partially closed and police and the Highways Agency warned drivers to be prepared and to set off earlier.

Rail company Southeastern said snowfall started to affect services between London and Kent at midday.

Eurostar cancelled four trains and said there would also be speed restrictions.

A Southeastern spokeswoman said had they had managed to run a full timetable on Friday morning with about 90% of trains arriving on time.

Reduced rail service

But she added: "Network Rail and Southeastern have been working together to clear the tracks of ice and snow however with more bad weather setting in, services this afternoon are experiencing disruption.

"Southeastern is advising passengers to consider planning their journey home early and allow additional time for travelling."

The company said a reduced service was operating from Victoria station, and advised passengers to use Charing Cross, Cannon St, London Bridge and St Pancras stations as alternatives.

It added that all mainline tickets would be accepted on its high speed services.

Kent County Council (KCC) said 60 gritting trucks fitted with snow ploughs were in operation, gritting 5,000 miles of the county's roads - half of Kent's network.

Highways manager Toby Howe added: "We've got 160 farmers across the county that deal with all of the minor roads that we don't then treat.

"Snow is beginning to settle in places, but the roads are all clear and traffic is flowing."

'Valiant attempts'

Meanwhile, in football, the League Two game between Rochdale and Gillingham has been postponed because of a frozen pitch.

Gillingham issued a statement which said: "Following a pitch inspection at Spotland this morning, the Gills League Two game scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed due to a frozen pitch.

"With temperatures expected to fall again overnight and with more snow on the way, a decision has been taken to postpone the match despite valiant attempts by the Rochdale groundstaff."

Dartford's game away to Hereford, and the match between Ebbsfleet United and Tamworth have also been postponed.

Image caption Snow began falling in Calverley Park, Tunbridge Wells, on Friday morning

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for South East England - including parts of west Kent - for Friday, warning of snow throughout the region and a danger of drifting.

BBC South East weather presenter Rachel Mackley said: "We've got weather warnings out from the Met Office about the snowfall which are valid all weekend, but it is likely to become more significant from mid-morning.

"Widely we're expecting five to 10cm of snow with temperatures not rising above freezing and bitterly cold south-easterly winds.

"Snow flurries are expected Saturday and Sunday."

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