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Storm Ciara blocked lines and damaged trains

Updated 12.00 10 Feb.

THE clear up after Storm Ciara is under way, but fallen trees and other debris have blocked lines and damaged trains.

Passengers were urged not to travel unless absolutely necessary on Sunday, while the storm was at its height.

Network Rail warned that while the strongest winds were expected on Sunday, disruption could follow into Monday morning because high winds can make it unsafe for engineers to work at height, or with certain machinery, meaning any repairs might not be completed in time for Monday morning services.

Passengers travelling on Sunday and Monday morning were urged to check their journeys before they travelled, and widespread speed restrictions were imposed.

Lineside neighbours were also asked to help keep the railway free of debris by tying down or clearing away garden furniture and trampolines.

Among the incidents reported was damage to a ScotRail HST which collided with a fallen tree near Insch in Aberdeenshire, while further south one of many fallen trees partially blocked the West Coast Main Line at Handforth, near Stockport. The train service between London Euston and Scotland is being disrupted by flooding at Carlisle, and there are no services north of Preston. Other fallen trees blocked the lines between Swindon and Gloucester, and between Dorking and Hailsham. Buses have replaced trains between Stafford, Penkridge and Wolverhampton​, while other West Midlands Trains timetables have been amended.

Transport for Wales said buses were replacing trains on the Conwy Valley Line betweenLlandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog, and also on the Cambrian Line between Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth and between Machynlleth and Pwllheli. There were warnings of delays of up to 30 minutes between Shrewsbury and Crewe as the result of a fallen tree, and high tides and continuing string winds were likely to disrupt services west of Swansea.

Network Rail has been assessing the extent of the repairs needed, and train operators were also been checking their lines for debris.

Meanwhile there is a yellow weather warning of wind, snow and ice in Scotland which applies until tomorrow, and of snow and ice into Wednesday. ScotRail is reporting a near-normal service on most routes, but cancellations are continuing on the lines to Oban, Mallaig and Kyle of Lochalsh. ScotRail said it would try to organise replacement buses, but only if the roads were safe enough.

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