Stormy weather causes massive rail disruption - UPDATED, Friday 4pm
Flooding and landslides severely disrupted rail travel yesterday, leaving Scotland virtually cut off from the rest of the UK, and the disruption has continued today.
Landslips closed both the West Coast Main Line in Cumbria and East Coast Main Line at Berwick, while a landslide in Scotland caused a freight train to derail, blocking the West Highland Line. The Settle to Carlisle line remained open, however, and many WCML trains were diverted along this route.
48 flood alerts were issued across the Midlands, North East and North West of England.
Passengers were advised not to attempt to travel betweenNewcastleandScotlandand Network Rail also warned of major delays between York and Edinburgh. Newcastle station was temporarily closed due to flooding.
East Coast Trains announced tickets valid for travel on Thursday would also be valid today.
A spokesman said: “Due to the extent of the landslip caused by flooding near Spittal, just south of Berwick-upon-Tweed, services will still not run betweenEdinburghandNewcastleon Friday.”
Passengers on one ill-fated Virgin service from London to Glasgowendured a 15-hour journey, after being stranded between two landslides in the Lake District, and later having to be evacuated from their train near Lockerbie after a minor engine fire.
The two-unit Voyage was split in two, with only the rear unit continuing the journey up to Glasgow– arriving at 4am. No-one was injured, but passengers variously described the journey and conditions as “appalling”, “complete chaos”, “very uncomfortable” and “terrible”.
In Shropshirea pensioner was swept away to his death by the floods.
The Met Office warned gales and heavy showers would hit the west of the country today, with the east facing rain at times.
First TransPennine Express and Virgin said services would be running on Friday.
UPDATE - Friday, 4pm
On Friday afternoon, Network Rail said that hundreds of engineers will work over the weekend to restore rail services.
Sections of track beds were ripped away by the floods at Haltwhistle on the Newcastle to Carlisle route, as well as at Scremerston on the ECML between Newcastle and Berwick (pictured0. Both sites require significant rebuild – at Scremerston 400 tonnes of new material is on site "ready to go", Network Rail said.
No trains will run between Haltwhistle and Carlisle over the weekend while these works take place.
Warrick Dent, general manager for Network Rail, said: “I would like to thank passengers for their continued patience while we carry out these significant works. Some of the damage is extensive and requires significant work to make good. Our engineers will be working around the clock to restore services as quickly as possible.”
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