Latest Rail News

09.01.15

Severe winds force ScotRail to cancel all services

Severe winds across northern parts of the UK have caused major travel disruptions, particularly in Scotland, with ScotRail suspending all of its services “for safety reasons”. 

Network Rail, which is responsible for the infrastructure, has been inspecting damage caused to lines by the hurricane-force winds with gusts of up to 110mph, as well as high tides, since 5.30 am. 

At that time, ScotRail suspended all of its services until further notice. However, since Network Rail started its inspection work a number of services have been restored on a reduced service, but the majority remain suspended. 

The services brought back online as of 9.00am included trains running between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverley. From 7.30am it was announced the hourly services between Glasgow Central to Kilmarnock; Edinburgh to North Berwick; Edinburgh Inner and Outer Fife Circle; and Edinburgh to Newcraighall, would be running. 

A ScotRail spokeswoman told RTM: “For safety reasons, this morning it has been necessary for Network Rail to inspect rail lines across the network before allowing passengers to travel. 

“Some services have already been restored in a controlled manner, and we are continuing to assess the situation. Please check our website for regular updates.” 

Early this morning, ScotRail tweeted that due to the weather the Aberdeen Sleeper hit a tree at Cupar. The tree was cleared and the train was able to continue.

Aberdeen sleeper

Yesterday, in advance of the severe weather, which has also left around 75,000 homes without power, Network Rail stated that a limited number of train services would be withdrawn from the start of service today as a safety precaution. 

No trains were expected to run on the following lines from this morning until late afternoon: 

  • Inverness-Kyle/Thurso/Wick/Aberdeen
  • Kilwinning-Ardrossan/Largs
  • Dumbarton Central-Helensburgh Central
  • Glasgow-Oban/Fort William/Mallaig (this includes tonight’s Caledonian Sleeper). 

At the time, David Dickson, Network Rail route managing director for Scotland, said: “Safety has to be our first consideration during severe weather. We will be withdrawing a limited number of services until the worst of the storm has passed to allow our engineers to thoroughly inspect the network for any damage. 

“We will be monitoring conditions on the ground closely throughout the night and into the morning and will have teams ready to respond to any issues caused by the storm.” 

Amber warnings have been issued by the Met Office for the north and central belt of Scotland, including Glasgow and Edinburgh. 

RTM has asked Network Rail for an update on its inspection work, but at the time of publication had received no reply. 

Rail union RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “It is absolutely right that safety comes first and our members are out there on the tracks in appalling conditions this morning ensuring that the infrastructure has survived the battering overnight.”

ScotRail’s website – www.scotrail.co.uk – is also being regularly updated with travel updates. 

(Aberdeen Sleeper image: c. ScotRail)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com 

Comments

Ampox   10/01/2015 at 11:31

This must raise the question of how compatible trees are in close proximity to rail lines. Electricity companies regularly cut back growth by the side of power lines. Should Network Rail do more?

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