Passenger misery as high winds cause rail disruption

Travellers have been hit by widespread disruption as rail operators across the country battled hazards caused by wet and windy conditions.

Network Rail has imposed speed restrictions on many routes, particularly in coastal areas, where wind speeds are forecast to hit 60mph.

Services were delayed or cancelled on Saturday morning after a tree fell on the line between Ashford International and Hastings, although the obstruction has since been cleared.

Wind and rain
Wind speeds are forecast to hit 60mph (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Elsewhere, services have resumed between Guildford and Reading after a fallen tree was removed from the line near North Camp.

A tree caused similar problems on the route between Ipswich and Lowestoft.

Further north, heavy rain flooded the line between Penrith North Lakes and Carlisle, meaning trains are running at a reduced speed with many services delayed or cancelled.

Network Rail has urged passengers to check for updates before they travel.

Weather warnings have been issued for much of the UK for the next 24 hours.

The Met Office has put in place yellow warnings for thunderstorms in Scotland and Northern Ireland and for strong winds across Wales and most of England.

Forecaster Craig Snell said heavy rain was affecting the northern border areas of England into Scotland, with further showers expected in the north as heavy and slow-moving thunderstorms roll through.

Mr Snell said: "No matter where you are in the UK you're at risk of seeing some kind of localised disruption from wind.

"It's a case of staying in touch with weather forecasts and being prepared for extra travel time as there may be road closures due to localised flooding."

Many events planned for this weekend have been cancelled due to the weather.

Several LGBT+ pride events, including in Chester, Milton Keynes and Plymouth, were postponed over safety concerns but are due to be rearranged.

The first day of Blackpool Air Show on Saturday was cancelled, as was nearby St Anne's International Kite Festival, as winds of 45mph were forecast for the afternoon.

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