New Year's Eve travel: Engineering work and Storm Frank flooding causes train disruption across UK

Several railway lines have been disrupted by flooding and gales, while major engineering work is also scheduled

Anyone hoping to catch the train home after celebrating New Year’s Eve may face a long wait as engineering works and Storm Frank cause line closures, delays and disruption across the UK.

Network Rail hailed “one of the biggest Christmas and New Year investment programmes ever carried out on Britain's rail network” as the reason for service changes continuing into 2016.

Works are running on time so far, with improvements at London Liverpool Street, Doncaster and Crewe completed, but scheduled upgrades continue on several lines.

 

 

Storm Frank is certainly having an effect. Conditions should remain much the same for around another hour. SD

Posted by Dawlish Beach Cam on Wednesday, 30 December 2015

 

Continuing bad weather as Storm Frank hits the north of the country this week is also expected to affect some journeys, threatening to flood railway lines and fell trees.

The Highland Main Line and tracks in Wales, the South West and northern parts of England were among those affected by flooding, torrential rain and rough seas on Wednesday.

Many roads across the country have also been forced to close or have lanes reduced, with the Clifton Suspension Bridge, Severn Bridge and M4 among the routes affected on Wednesday.

Storm Frank is still moving across the UK and the Environment Agency warned that Scotland, Cumbria and Yorkshire could see further flooding as rain falls on saturated ground.

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Rail passengers look at the departures screen in Kings Cross station in London, as trains are delayed on December 18, 2009

But by tomorrow evening, the Met Office predicts that England, Wales and eastern Scotland will be clear, dry and cold – dipping below freezing in parts – while any showers will be confined to western Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A spokesman for Network Rail said that mobile teams were working to clear debris and respond to flooding, adding: “Typically, around 4 million journeys are made on UK trains every day, but around the festive period this drops to about half of that, which is why we are carrying out these works during this time.

"Recent storms have resulted in some flooding and high winds are expected this week. This will affect the speed of services connecting to Carlisle, so there will be delays but everyone will get to where they want to go.

"We will also be making mobile resources available, ready to clear any debris off the lines and deal with any flooding.”

Rail links to main London airports are due to be heavily disrupted on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. 

While the Heathrow Express will be running a half hourly service between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport, the Gatwick Express will remain completely closed until 4 January, although there will be slower services running to London Victoria.

Southeastern Thameslink services - between the airport and Brighton - will not call at Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street or London Bridge stations and will instead be diverted to Victoria, Blackfriars or New Cross.

The line will also be providing fewer services throughout Thursday and Friday, due to major works in the Purley area, and there will be no trains between East Croydon and Milton Keynes Central.

Rave on a tube carriage - London Live

But it will be offering an all-night service on some routes, including between London Victoria and East Croydon, on New Year's Eve for late night party-goers.

Great Western Rail is expecting works to affect services until Sunday, while Great Northern and London Midland are running amended services.

All travel on London buses, Tubes, trams, trains and the DLR will be free between 11.45pm on New Year’s Eve and 4.30am but some stations will become exit-only or close for crowd control.

For full details of services in London, visit the National Rail Enquiries website here or the Transport for London site here.

Additional reporting by PA

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