Storm: Transport Slowly Getting Back To Normal

Storm: Transport Slowly Getting Back To Normal

Britain's transport infrastructure is on the mend after commuters experienced a day of turmoil following the arriving of storm St Jude.

A massive clear-up operation was launched after 200 trees fell on to rail lines, causing cancellations of many main line services at a time when most would be travelling to work on a Monday morning.

London-bound commuters on the Tube also found the open-air sections of the Underground network badly affected.

Managing director of network operations Robin Gisby said: "Following the effects of the severe weather, our track teams have worked tirelessly throughout the day to clear around 200 fallen trees and debris.

"Whilst we are still working to fix a number of damaged overhead power lines on the routes north of London, the majority of railway lines in and around the southeast of England have reopened although it will take some time before normal service is resumed.

"We still have more to do tonight to fix the damage caused by the storms but will continue to work throughout the night and are hopeful of running a normal service tomorrow."

Rail passengers left stranded by the hurricane-strength winds criticised train companies, claiming they were not kept fully informed.

Hundreds of services were cancelled as a severe storm battered the South and the South East, felling more than 200 trees.

The strong winds also caused damage to overhead power lines, with parts of the rail network so badly affected that several operators, including East Coast, Virgin and East Midlands, urged customers heading to or from London not to travel at all on Monday.

Network Rail, the company responsible for Britain's rail infrastructure, defended its response to the storm and the decision to cancel early morning services, saying: "Safety remains our top priority."

However, Graham Collins, who was among those trying to get from Guildford, Surrey, to the capital, told Sky News: "The problem is that you're drip fed information. It's just frustrating."

A mother who was attempting to travel to north Wales with her son for a half-term walking holiday said: "It would have been better if there was more accurate information on the internet.

"The people at the station are doing the best they can but I overheard one of them saying the information on their websites is inaccurate anyway."

Dominic Tuohy, a South African who was stuck at Ipswich train station, added: "It's ridiculous. In my country we manage to get around (any severe weather) but here there's a bit of wind ... and everything gets closed down."

Many train companies announced cancellations or suspensions to services as early as Sunday, as the storm, dubbed St Jude, raced across the Atlantic.

However, asked whether they had overreacted to the risk posed by the storm, Prime Minister David Cameron said:  "Everyone has to act on the basis of the evidence that they are given.

"Afterwards we'll be able to look back and see whether people made the right decisions but right now what matters is listening to the evidence, working together and getting things back to normal."

The strong winds and heavy rain also caused disruption on the roads, with a number of major routes affected.

Both Severn estuary crossings were closed, as well as the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and the Sheppey Crossing in Kent.

A lorry overturned on the M11 in Essex, while the A2 was shut in west Kent because of the number of fallen trees.

Countless local roads were also closed, as emergency services and council crews battled to remove fallen trees and other debris.

At Heathrow airport, about 130 flights were cancelled, although Gatwick said it was operating a "near normal service".

Rough seas whipped up by the strong winds also caused cancellations to ferry services, including English Channel, Irish Sea and Penzance-Isles of Scilly crossings.

Brittany Ferries also cancelled services between Plymouth and Roscoff, Poole and Cherbourg and Portsmouth and Bilbao.

The Port of Dover was closed for a time but has since reopened, although a spokesman confirmed around 50 cars parked by customers on a Fred Olsen cruise were damaged when waves crashed over the harbour wall.

Among the transport operators which continue to experience disruption are:

Trains

:: Greater Anglia has suspended services on most routes, with customers advised not to travel for the rest of the day.

:: Stansted Express  say there has been major disruption to services and customers are strongly advised to check the latest travel information prior to setting out.

:: East Coast  trains have begun running again to and from London King's Cross. Passengers are urged to defer non-essential travel until tomorrow when a near-normal service is expected to run.

:: East Midlands Trains are hopeful services will resume with a full timetable in place between Bedford and London St Pancras tomorrow. Network Rail engineers will work overnight to repair storm damage to overhead wires. Services will be suspended between London St Pancras & Bedford this evening but a full timetable is running on all other routes.

:: C2C  say that train services via Basildon are returning to normal but some services may still be delayed by up to 20 minutes at short notice. Normal services will be provided as soon as possible

:: First Hull Trains  are running a revised service. The 2030 departure from London King's Cross to Hull will run as normal. 

Grand Central  say some trains are delayed or cancelled, and some train operators are running amended timetables.

:: London Midland  hope to run a full peak service from London Euston this evening though some trains will have fewer carriages than normal. The Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey service will be suspended tomorrow due to damage to the overhead power lines. Replacement road transport is in operation.

:: South West Trains  say many lines are now open following the clearance of trees and debris from the tracks. But some lines are still closed, including Eastleigh to Fareham via Botley and Hedge End, Virginia Water to Weybridge via Chertsey, Lymington to Brockenhurst, Ascot to Aldershot via Camberley, Aldershot to Guildford via Wanborough and Fulwell to Shepperton.

:: Southeastern  have been given the 'all clear' to run a limited service on most lines. They will run one train per hour on Mainline routes and two trains per hour on High Speed and Metro routes). They are expecting to run a normal service tomorrow.

:: Southern Railway  say all routes are now open but services may still be disrupted. A reduced service is now in place. London Underground and London Buses are accepting Southern tickets on all reasonable routes.

:: First Capital Connect  say most routes have reopened. However they have only limited services in operation and no service at all between Luton and London with only a replacement bus service for passengers, who are advised not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

:: Arriva Trains Wales  say services between Barry and Bridgend are cancelled or delayed because of flooding. Trains between Rhoose Cardiff International Airport and Bridgend are also delayed due to flooding.

:: London Overground services have been part suspended, although trains are running between Gospel Oak and Barking, Highbury and Islington to New Cross and New Cross Gate, Euston and Watford Junction, and New Cross Gate and West Croydon and Crystal Palace.

:: London Underground  has delays due to part suspensions on the District and Piccadilly lines.

Planes

:: Heathrow Airport say there is some disruption to flights including cancellations. Passengers are advised to check the status of their flight with your airline before travelling to the airport..

Ferries

:: Brittany Ferries  has announced cancellations between Plymouth and Roscoff, Poole and Cherbourg and Portsmouth and Bilbao.