'Virtually every rail route' hit by floods

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The Independent Online

Delays were reported yesterday on "virtually every rail route" and where roads remained open, driving conditions were hazardous. The advice from all leading transport organisations remained that people should not travel unless "absolutely necessary".

Delays were reported yesterday on "virtually every rail route" and where roads remained open, driving conditions were hazardous. The advice from all leading transport organisations remained that people should not travel unless "absolutely necessary".

On the rail system the problems caused by speed restrictions imposed since the Hatfield rail disaster last month had "taken a back seat". Now flooding was the big problem, the Association of Train Operating Companies said.

One of the hardest hit was Virgin Trains. Around half of Virgin's main west coast line services were operating, but the company advised passengers travelling between London and Glasgow to use other rail routes between Scotland and England, find other means of transport or simply stay at home.

On Britain's other flagship rail link on the east coast, Great North Eastern Railways were operating an hourly service between King's Cross and Edinburgh for most of yesterday, but later the route was closed after flooding south of Darlington.

Sleeper services between Scotland and London were yesterday cancelled by ScotRail until Thursday because of a combination of floods and speed restrictions.

Fears were also growing that the prolonged disruption could lead to postal chaos at Christmas. Post Office managers are to decide whether the recommended dates for Christmas posting need to be brought forward.

Roads throughout the south-east of England, the West Country, north-east England and Wales were flooded, according to AA Roadwatch.

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