Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Meltdown after sprinkling of snow

Motorists make their way through the snow at Barrington in Cambridgeshire
Ploughs work to clear snow at Stansted Airport in Essex
Lorry drivers on the M20 near Ashford, Kent, as snow starts to fall across the south east of the UK

A sprinkling of snow has sent UK transport into meltdown, with a major holiday airport shut for more than two hours and road and rail journeys delayed.

Forecasters said the snow had amounted to no more than "one or two centimetres in places" but nevertheless air and train passengers endured a difficult Wednesday morning.

Stansted airport in Essex was shut from about 6am to 8.30am, as passengers complained of being given incorrect information. Luton and Aberdeen were also among the airports affected by the wintry conditions that also caused considerable problems on the railways.

Train travellers have had to contend with floods and a series of non-weather-related problems of late. On Wednesday, many routes in southern England were hit by poor rail conditions.

No trains were able to run between Watford Junction in Hertfordshire and Harrow and Wealdstone in north-west London, while snow caused delays of up to 90 minutes between London and Reading in Berkshire.

Trains were unable to run between Barnes and Hounslow via Brentford in west London, while there were delays between London and Ashford International in Kent and also between Sevenoaks in Kent and Hither Green in south-east London.

In London there were delays on the London Overground, and the Metropolitan, Central and Bakerloo Tube lines, while a faulty train led to delays on the Victoria line. Buses had to replace trains between Redhill in Surrey and Tonbridge in Kent.

The A120 was one of the many roads in Essex to be affected by the weather. The A171 near Scarborough was one of Yorkshire's snow-hit routes.

Traffic information company Inrix warned drivers that many roads in the Home Counties were snow-affected, with the A505 blocked between Hitchin and Letchworth in Hertfordshire. Among other roads with poor conditions was the A2 in Kent.

By 11.30am on Wednesday, the AA had attended nearly 5,000 breakdowns, with a peak around 8am of 1,300 an hour. It said the Home Counties, particularly Essex, had been badly hit.

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