Scotland's entire rail network shuts down and motorists told to stay at home
Thursday 5 December 2013
Network Rail announced this morning that the entire train network was closed "due to the huge amount of debris - trampolines, hay bales, trees - on the tracks".
On the roads, police are advising drivers not to travel on roads in the south, west and central belt and into South Perthshire. They have warned that conditions for travel are extremely poor during the morning rush-hour and spoke of a high risk of disruption across Scotland, particularly in the west.
In one graphic example a truck was blown on to its side on the edge of the Friarton Bridge over the River Tay on the M90 near Perth.
The Fourth Road Bridge and Erskine Bridge have been closed. More closures are expected due to the strong winds. The high winds are also likely to disrupt ferry services.
Some schools have been closed after problems with power, bus services, or for structural safety reasons.
Eight flights have so far been cancelled at Glasgow Airport. The majority are believed to be domestic. British Airways has cancelled flights between Glasgow and London until this afternoon.
Around 20,000 homes are without power as rain and winds gusting up to 114mph batter the north of Scotland.
In the Highlands, gusts of 93mph have been recorded at Altnaharra, rising to 106mph at Glen Ogle and 114mph on the slopes of Aonach Mor near Fort William.
The Met Office has issued amber "be prepared" warnings of wind for most areas of Scotland. The worst of the impact is expected in the period up to mid-day. Gusts of 70-80mph are predicted across much of the country.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has issued a number of flood alerts and warnings, with a focus on possible flooding on the east and west coasts.
Forecaster Laura Caldwell of MeteoGroup said: "We could see wind gusts mainly in western parts over exposed areas getting up into 90mph.
"There will be really strong winds pushing widely across Scotland as the weather system moves through.
"There's going to be quite a bit of heavy rain mainly in the morning, then that will clear away with snow showers following behind."
The Scottish Government's resilience operation has been activated to deal with the situation.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "I would urge the travelling public to consider the conditions before they set-off on their journeys. Indications are that bridges across the country will be affected by the strong winds and closures are expected during the morning peak period.
"People should listen to radio reports or visit the Traffic Scotland website or twitter feed, and carefully consider police advice."
ScotRail services are not expected to run on 20 routes, including the West Highland lines, the Edinburgh to Perth via Kirkcaldy route and the Ayr to Kilmarnock stretch.
In addition, services are not due to operate until at least 4pm on the Glasgow Central to Ayr, Gourock, Largs, Wemyss Bay routes and Dalmuir to Balloch and Helensburgh.
Reduced timetables are in operation on main commuter routes such as Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street, Perth to Inverness, and Edinburgh and Glasgow to Aberdeen.
ScotRail has asked people not to travel if their journeys are not essential.
Train operator East Coast is advising passengers to allow extra time for their journeys. It will run a revised timetable throughout the day.
The 50mph speed limit for trains is in place as a "precaution".
Network Rail is expected to have hundreds of engineers out across the network ready to react to problems and clear any fallen trees.
David Dickson, Network Rail area director for the west of Scotland, said: "Safety is our number one priority during such severe weather. We will be monitoring conditions on the ground closely."
Police Scotland has warned that motorists are likely to experience significant delays.
Superintendent Iain Murray, head of road policing, said: "High winds and driving rain will make driving conditions difficult, particularly on open roads and over bridges.
"If you must travel during rush hour, allow plenty of time for your journey and drive with care to the road conditions."
The Forth Road Bridge is expected to be closed to all vehicles except cars and there is a "significant possibility" that a full bridge closure will be needed in the morning, its operators said.
Power companies have engineers ready to deal with any power line issues or general supply disruption around the country, the Scottish Government said.
All workers on Buchan Alpha oil platform, 83 miles off the coast of Aberdeen, have been flown off the platform because of the weather forecast, operator Talisman Sinopec Energy UK confirmed yesterday.
Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne advised ferry travellers to take the severe forecasts into account when planning journeys over the next few days, and air passengers are being advised to check with airports and airlines before travelling.
SEPA has issued 12 flood alerts and nine flood warnings covering both sides of the country.
Marc Becker, hydrology duty manager for SEPA, said: "A combination of high tides and storm surge will result in a risk of flooding in some coastal communities along the Firth of Forth, Fife, East Lothian and Scottish Borders coast during this afternoon."
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home ... 1386224200
RAIL services from Templecombe and Gillingham will be affected as the line between Salisbury and Yeovil Junction closes all day on Saturday and Sunday for track renewal works.
A bus replacement service will operate between Salisbury, Gillingham, Templecombe, Sherborne and Yeovil Junction stations.
For full details on this weekend's train service, visit www.southwesttrains.co.uk.
Read more: http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Train-p ... z2manQq99z
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