Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Rail passengers stranded by storms

The M48 motorway and the Severn Bridge going across the Bristol Channel from England to Wales is devoid of cars and lorries

Thousands of rail passengers were stuck on trains tonight after wind and rain wrecked services.

The evening rush-hour suffered disruption almost throughout the country, with a section of the West Coast main line in Lancashire closing between 7pm and 9pm.

Virgin Trains, which operates across large parts of the UK including between London and Edinburgh, posted a message in capital letters on its official Twitter account urging "ALL CUSTOMERS TO ABANDON TRAVEL ".

At one stage all of its services out of London Euston were suspended.

Many travellers who were already on board trains described being stuck for several hours.

Rachel Sigsworth wrote on Twitter: " Stuck on a wobbling train in the middle of a storm! Freezing! starving! Wet foot! Send help!"

Tony Hawks posted a message to say " I am stuck on a train in the West Country. I have been on it for five hours." while Erin Mary Elizabeth wrote: " Seriously was stuck between Basingstoke and Fleet for ages on the train in the dark. Not fun".

West Country rail services continued to be affected by the severe flooding, while Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent and Surrey were among the counties where train disruption was rife.

In West Sussex, a lightning strike at Angmering caused signalling problems which affected services.

Those travelling from London through the Midlands and to the north west of England had to put up with speed restrictions tonight, with passengers warned to expect their journeys to take up to 60 minutes longer than normal.

On the roads, a 15ft deep hole which was discovered on the central reservation of the M2 in north Kent led to the section of the motorway being shut for a second day between junction five near Sittingbourne and junction six south of Faversham.

Highways Agency engineers have been working all day dealing with the hole. Traffic is being diverted and queues have built up. Around 5.30pm today the agency said it was hoped that the hard shoulder part of the closed section would be open in both directions by 6am tomorrow.

The agency added that the hole had been filled with 40 tones of pea shingle "to stabilise the hole to enable further assessment".

With the arrival of high winds today, the M48 Severn Bridge was closed in both directions between junction one at the A403 (Aust) and junction two at the A466 (Chepstow).

The winds also caused the closure of the A249 Sheppey Crossing in Kent.

Sections of many roads were closed due to flooding, with the depth of water causing a lane of the M25 in Surrey to close. Fallen trees added to the problems for motorists.

Among areas and routes affected by flooded roads and obstructions on the road were Purley in south London, a number of routes in Worcester city, the A29 in West Sussex, the A35 at Christchurch in Dorset, the A30 in Somerset, the A41 in Shropshire, and the A49 Wigan Road at Ashton-in-Makerfield in Greater Manchester.

In Scotland, a section of the A93 in Aberdeenshire was closed because of snow.

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