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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Sami Quadri

Tory MP blasts train operators for cancelling services amid ‘lightest dusting of snow’

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay

(Picture: PA)

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay criticised train services as “bedlam” after widespread disruption due to the snow.

Mr Mackinlay, who represents South Thanet, condemned train operator Southeastern for cancelling services because of the “lightest dusting of snow”.

He also accused striking rail employees of taking a day off on Tuesday to go Christmas shopping.

More than 40,000 workers across Network Rail and 14 train operators will stage a series of 48-hour walk-outs in the coming days.

Mr Mackinlay posted a photo on Twitter of a sign telling train passengers of service disruption on Southeastern.

He wrote: “On this cold day, but with the lightest dusting of snow, you can at least set your watch by@Se_Railway

“Total bedlam, trains cancelled, all delayed. They haven’t disappointed. I expect they’re getting ready for tomorrow’s #christmasshopping day off. Cost to economy - £Billions.”

However, several social media users criticised the politician for playing down the severity of the weather. Others suggested it was unfair to only blame the train operator.

One wrote: “Dusting? It’s over 3 inches of snow in freezing temperatures your party wants to close ticket offices, cut platform staff jobs, cut maintenance jobs and hours, increase privatisation.

“So the blame should be at yours and the fellow Tory party doors.”

Southeastern has issued a “do not travel” alert to passengers amid “severe disruption” across its network.

The rail operator said: “Snow and ice caused severe disruption across the whole of the Southeastern network on Sunday evening, and services continue to be disrupted on Monday 12 December, particularly this morning.

“To allow Network Rail to check that the rails are clear of snow and ice, which can prevent trains from drawing power from the electric rail, the first trains in each direction on all routes were cancelled.

“We also have many trains in the wrong location after last night’s disruption, causing further cancellations to services across the network.”

It came as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) extended a level three cold weather alert until Friday, while weather alerts for snow and ice will remain in place until at least Thursday in parts of England and Scotland.

The conditions have already been causing travel disruption, with Stansted airport temporarily closing its runway on Sunday evening due to "heavy snow".

More than 90 flights were cancelled from Heathrow on Sunday, as freezing fog - containing frozen droplets of water that form ice on contact with a surface - descended on the capital.

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