Floods and power surge halt Christmas rail travel

Cardiff Central
Image caption A power surge has halted trains at Cardiff Central blocking its lines

Flooding and a power surge have halted rail services across much of south Wales just three days before Christmas.

Rail passengers have been advised to not travel unless absolutely necessary.

Services between Swansea and Newport are blocked by floodwater, while major signalling problems at Cardiff Central railway station are being investigated.

South Wales fire service said crews are "really busy" in the Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend and Cardiff areas, while on the M4 there is a 50mph speed limit.

There are four flood warnings in place.

Rail firm Arriva Trains Wales says it is having difficulty sourcing replacement buses for its services because of flooding on the roads as well.

Network Rail said a power surge at Central Cardiff railway station at 09:40 GMT knocked out signalling in the Cardiff area.

It said engineers are investigating and a team is trying to put in a fix to allow at least some trains through.

It is not known if the cause was weather related and it is not known when the problem will be resolved.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "We do apologise to customers, and we know it's Christmas, but the state of the weather is such - especially in Wales and the west - that it's better not to travel if they don't have to."

The network is also experiencing disruption in the north, particularly between Crewe and Shrewsbury.

Image caption Fire crews have pumped out flooded homes in St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan

The Met Office has issued an amber flood warning for south Wales, advising people to be prepared for localised flooding from rivers and surface water.

Environment Agency Wales has put two flood warnings in place for Ewenny, Vale of Glamorgan, and Pencoed, Bridgend, on the River Ewenny.

It has also issued flood warnings for Solva on the River Solva, in Pembrokeshire and the Lower Dee Valley from Llangollen, Denbighshire, to Chester.

It means flooding in these areas is expected and Twenty-four less serious flood alerts are in place where flooding is possible.

On the roads, rain and surface water spray has led to a 50mph speed limit on the M4 between J30, Cardiff Gate, and J49, the Pont Abraham roundabout.

The A474 in Briton Ferry, Neath Port Talbot, is closed in both directions due to flooding. Emergency services are in attendance and diversions are in place.

Weather forecasters predict heavy rain for much of Saturday, with up to 50mm (2ins) falling on already saturated ground and swollen rivers.

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