All ScotRail services to stop early as Storm Isha rages through Scotland

The amber weather warning issued by the Met Office has been pushed forward from 9pm to 6pm.

Ryan McDougall
Sunday 21 January 2024 22:36 GMT
Stock image of commuters passing a ScotRail train. (Jane Barlow/PA)
Stock image of commuters passing a ScotRail train. (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

Scotland’s railway operator has said that all of its services will cease early on Sunday due to the effects of Storm Isha.

ScotRail has said there will also be no Monday morning rush-hour services, with an amber weather warning for wind set to come into force on Sunday at 6pm.

Network Rail says it has “taken the decision to close the network to all freight and passenger trains from 22:00 tonight until Monday morning”, and services will begin being withdrawn at 7pm.

The warning was previously scheduled to come into effect at 9pm, but has been pushed forward by the Met Office as the weather worsens.

A yellow warning for rain is also in place.

A flight travelling from Sharm El Sheikh to Glasgow Airport has declared an emergency due to Storm Isha.

A spokesperson for Glasgow Airport said the TUI flight was “diverted to Manchester due to current weather conditions”.

They added: “This is happening across many UK airports due to Storm Isha.”

TUI was contacted for comment.

Network Rail made the decision to close the railway to passengers in the interest of public and staff safety.

Customers have been advised that any trains set to depart before 7pm will complete their journey as planned.

Repair teams are responding to reports of a tree which has fallen on overhead wires on a train track in Gartcosh, Cumbernauld.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Network Rail thanked the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for extinguishing a small fire that broke out after the tree collided with the wires.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We initially received the call at 6.38pm to reports of a tree fallen on the overhead lines.

“Two pumps were in attendance. The fire has been extinguished and we are no longer there.”

Network Rail also said a tree has fallen onto the tracks near East Linton in East Lothian.

Overhead wires are said to have been damaged and engineers are responding.

The Met Office has also warned that damage to properties and businesses is possible.

Power cuts, poor mobile phone coverage and flying debris can also be expected.

Train lines on Monday will undergo a safety inspection, meaning trains will run later than usual.

Customers whose journey has been cancelled or disrupted due to adverse weather can travel two days after the date on their ticket, or also apply for a refund on any unused tickets.

Customer are advised to check the ScotRail website or app before travelling on Monday.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail customer operations director, said:  “The heavy wind and ongoing rain hitting most parts of the country mean that it will not be safe for our customers and our staff, and all ScotRail train services will be suspended from 19.00 tonight.

“We know the impact that the withdrawal of train services will have on customers, but our first priority is always to ensure the safety of staff and passengers – and this is a necessary step to ensure everyone’s safety during the severe weather.

“Our colleagues at Network Rail Scotland will be working flat out through the night and into the morning to carry out safety checks, and assess what repairs are required to reopen the railway.

“However, customers will be unable to travel early Monday morning, as trains will not be able to operate until the infrastructure has been made safe.

“We will update our website, mobile app, and social media feeds when we have more information, and customers should check for the latest updates before they attempt to travel tomorrow.”

Surface water will reduce visibility when driving, high sided vehicles are at risk and the strength of winds could also pose a risk to pedestrians

Ashleigh Robson, Transport Scotland

Ashleigh Robson, head of transport resilience at Transport Scotland said: “Storm Isha will create difficult travelling conditions across Scotland today and tomorrow.

“High winds are expected across much of Scotland, with significant rain from the central belt up towards Inverness, alongside another area of heavy rain anticipated for the south of Scotland.

“Met Office yellow warnings have been in place from midday – with the more severe high-impact amber warnings for wind in place from 6pm through until Monday morning.

“Surface water will reduce visibility when driving, high sided vehicles are at risk and the strength of winds could also pose a risk to pedestrians.”

She added: “To ensure passenger safety, rail services are concluding from 7pm this evening across the network.

“Rail services will also be impacted tomorrow morning until the tracks are visually inspected for any damage or debris.

“Ferry services are already impacted – and flights may be impacted also, so it’s important you check with your public transport operator for the latest updates.”

The railway operator also said a tree has struck a train at Crosshill on the Cathcart Circle.

No injuries have been reported and response teams were on their way when Network rail reported the incident at around 7.15pm on Sunday.

A Network Rail Scotland spokesperson said: “Due to the worsening weather conditions across Scotland, including projected winds of up to 80 miles-per-hour in a number of areas, we have taken the decision to close the network to all freight and passenger trains from 10pm tonight until Monday morning.

“We will be operating a phased shutdown of the network with services beginning to be withdrawn from 7pm this evening.

“Lines will reopen when all the appropriate safety checks have been carried out tomorrow morning. This means that people expecting to travel on the network for the remainder of today and tomorrow morning should check with their train operator before they travel.

“Network Rail would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused, but the safety of passengers and our railway colleagues must always be our priority.”

People living, working and travelling in affected areas are advised to consider any steps they need to take now to be prepared and stay safe, and to take extra care if they need to travel

Janine Hensman, Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Meanwhile, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) has increased the number of flood warnings in Scotland from 19 to 27.

The number of less severe flood alerts remains at 17.

Janine Hensman, flood duty manager for Sepa, said: “Stay up to date with local warnings in force now for your area.

“Our three-day Scottish Flood Forecast shows the conditions that are expected further ahead. Follow Met Office updates for weather impacts.

“The strong winds combined with high tides and large waves may also result in wave overtopping and flooding of causeways, promenades, properties and roads along the southern and western coasts. Take care on exposed coasts.

“We have issued regional flood alerts and flood warnings as our rivers respond to the heavy rain and snow earlier in the week. We continue to work with the Met Office to monitor the situation 24/7.”

She added: “People living, working and travelling in affected areas are advised to consider any steps they need to take now to be prepared and stay safe, and to take extra care if they need to travel.

“We advise people to sign up to Floodline to receive free updates for where they live, or travel through, directly to their phone. People can also check our flood updates for all the latest information and the three-day Scottish Flood Forecast to see what conditions are expected further ahead.”

Traffic Scotland has said the A90 is currently closed in both directions due to fallen power cables.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, a spokesperson said police are in attendance and are directing traffic.

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