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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Tom Eden

Train lines to remain shut for safety checks after Storm Dudley

Train services will remain suspended on Thursday morning in the wake of Storm Dudley until safety checks have been carried out on the lines, ScotRail has said.

The rail operator said it will not know the extent of any damage caused by the storm’s high winds and rain until the morning, with the expectation some routes will continue to be unusable due to fallen trees.

Network Rail Scotland shared photographs of damage from the storm, including trees that had fallen onto lines and overhead power cables.

Because of Met Office amber weather warnings for high winds, the final services departed across most of Scotland before 4pm on Thursday as wind and rain caused trees to be uprooted and debris blown onto tracks.

A photo shoared by Network Rail Scotland of a tree on the line follwoing Storm Dudley (Network Rail Scotland/PA)

As of Thursday evening, the weather forecaster had extended a yellow wind warning for most of Scotland, Northern Ireland, and northern Wales and England until 6am on Friday.

A yellow weather warning for ice in the Highlands and Western Isles was to be in place until 10am.

In a statement posted on Wednesday evening, ScotRail said: “Storm Dudley is now well under way. It still has several hours to run, but already we have reports of trees on the line, damage to overhead wires, and signalling faults.

“We won’t know the full extent of the damage until the early hours of the morning when Network Rail’s engineers will be able to check each route and begin any repair works.

“Teams will be working through the night to get services back up and running as quickly as possible, but disruption is expected to continue into the morning.

“We won’t be able to restore services until we know routes are safe.

“Please check our app or visit our website before you leave the house to check if your service is running. Services will appear in our app and on our website as cancelled in the morning until each line has been cleared as safe to reopen.”

ScotRail added it was considering ticket acceptance on other public transport or rail replacement buses if services continue to be off, with an announcement expected on Thursday morning.

On Twitter, Network Rail Scotland shared photos of a downed overhead power line cased by a falling tree in Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, with a warning that trains in the Glasgow area are unlikely to be able to run between there and Largs and Ardrossan at all on Thursday.

Ferry services were also severely disrupted around many parts of Scotland as a precaution as strong winds, with at least 20 of the 29 routes experiencing cancellations.

Historic Scotland announced the early closure of eight of its sites, including Edinburgh, Stirling and Blackness castles, Glasgow Cathedral, and Melrose Abbey.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney earlier warned the coming days will be “very challenging” as a result of both Storm Dudley and the expectation of Storm Eunice on Friday.

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

“We expect another period of disruption this week, with storms Dudley and Eunice set to bring strong winds to Scotland,” Mr Swinney said.

“High winds may cause issues on roads and bridges, disruption to power supplies and danger from falling trees.

“We would urge everyone to plan their journeys in advance, exercise caution on the roads, and follow the latest travel advice.”

A weather warning sign at Glasgow Central Station as Storm Dudley sweeps in (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

Robert Morrison, ferry operator CalMac’s director of operations, said: “This will be the fourth week of extreme and unprecedented weather disruptions.

“We shared last week that this is taking place when other factors are affecting our service – including technical faults, overhaul, and the continuing but lesser effects of Covid-19.

“We know we cannot control every factor, but we want to stress to our customers again that we do understand how much you and the communities we serve rely on our services.

“Ensuring ferries work as they should is our priority and we are working hard to ensure we limit the impact of this upcoming period of disruption as much as we can and protect the lifeline service we deliver.”

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