Train passengers urged to avoid travel on Sunday due to Storm Ciara

Trains passengers are urged to only travel on Sunday if their journey is "absolutely necessary" as Storm Ciara is set to batter the UK.

Several rail firms will operate reduced timetables amid speed restrictions due to gusts of up to 80mph.

The Met Office predicted that heavy wind and rain would cause disruption to flights, trains and ferries, as well as damage to buildings.

There is also a "good chance" of power cuts.

The London Winter Run 10k event – due to be attended by 25,000 runners – was cancelled after organisers said they were "not able to guarantee the safety of our runners, crew and volunteers".

A series of severe weather alerts was issued by the Met Office, including an amber warning for south-east England on Sunday.

Yellow warnings have been issued for north-western parts of the UK on Saturday and the entire country on Sunday.

Storm Ciara was named by the Met Office on Wednesday and is moving eastwards towards the UK and Ireland.

Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders said: "Storm Ciara will bring damaging winds and heavy rain across the UK this weekend and we have issued a range of severe weather warnings giving people time to prepare for potential impacts of the storm.

"Winds will increase through Saturday across Northern Ireland, Scotland, northern England and Wales, before turning very windy across the rest of UK through the early hours of Sunday morning.

"Gusts of 50-60mph are expected quite widely across inland areas, with even stronger gusts of 80mph or higher along coastal areas, especially in south-east England and northern Scotland."

RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous urged motorists to take "extreme care" on the roads, particularly on coastal or exposed routes.

"You have a recipe for some treacherous driving conditions," he said.

"We strongly recommend drivers reduce their speed and leave plenty of space between their vehicle and those around them, and be particular careful when passing high-sided vehicles when the potential for strong crosswinds could blow them off course."

Network Rail and train operators in England issued an alert to passengers, which read: "Only travel by train this Sunday if absolutely necessary."

Fewer trains than normal will run on Sunday amid speed restrictions.

A 50mph speed restriction on trains has been planned to cover every line* in the Region, which include lines heading to the coast from London Waterloo, London Victoria, London Charing Cross and London Bridge.

Strong winds have the potential to damage overhead electric wires and tracks due to debris or trees falling onto the railway.

Disruption could continue into Monday morning as repair work may be hampered by the conditions.

Strong winds have the potential to damage overhead electric wires and tracks due to debris or trees falling onto the railway.

Network Rail's strategic operations and passenger director for the North West and Central region, Jake Kelly, said: "It is rare for us to advise passengers to only travel if necessary, but with the latest forecasts showing how severe Storm Ciara will be, we must prioritise the safety of passengers and railway staff."

Passengers are urged to check for updates before they travel.

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