Train travellers warned to expect disruption due to wintry weather

Snowfall and rain are likely to continue into Thursday and Friday, the Met Office warns

Joanna Whitehead
Wednesday 08 March 2023 09:49 GMT
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Snow piles across Hampshire as arctic blast hits UK

Snow and ice is expected to affect train journeys in many parts of Britain until Friday 10 March, National Rail has announced.

Passengers have been advised to check that their complete journey is possible before travel.

At present, Southeastern services are most affected by the adverse weather, with services disrupted on the Hastings, Sole Street, Bromley North, Bromley South, and Hayes lines.

Snow had fallen across parts of Kent, London, the southwest and south Wales early on Wednesday affecting road, rail and air travel.

On Thursday, heavy snowfall is expected to extend south from Glasgow to parts of England, including Manchester.

Snow and ice are expected on the Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Great Northern networks.

A warning from the operator reads: “Until the morning of Thursday, 9 March, snow showers are expected at times, although not all areas of the network will be equally affected.

“Ice will cause an additional hazard, especially overnight.

“Staff are working hard to minimise any disruption, but there could be some changes to trains. Please keep an eye on this page for updates.”

According to National Rail, when the temperature drops “even the lightest shower of rain or dusting of snow can freeze and become compacted on the rails, turning into dangerous ice.

“Not only does this freeze around the electric rail and create an insulating effect preventing trains from drawing power and being able to move with any speed, in the worst cases, it prevents them from being able to move at all.”

Efforts to minimise disruptions to the rail network include “running snow and ice-busting trains around the clock when winter weather strikes which are fitted with anti-icing fluid to stop the electric rail freezing up, adhesion gel for the rails for wheel grip, and snow ploughs when weather is severe”.

Applying heating strips to electric lines most likely to freeze and running empty ‘ghost trains’ overnight to keep tracks and overhead cables free of snow and ice are alternative methods used to combat bad weather.

Meanwhile, Bristol Airport has cancelled all flights this morning as a consequence of the Arctic blast.

Flight operations at the southwestern hub have been suspended until 11am at the earliest.

The Met Office has issued warnings of “further disruptions” in many parts of the UK as snowfall and rain are likely to continue through Thursday and Friday.

The weather service said there is a “slight chance” some rural communities could be “cut off”, with the likelihood of power cuts and disruption of services in many places.

“Snow and ice will affect some areas of the country on Wednesday morning, so it’s worth leaving extra time for your journey to work or school,” the Met Office said.

Snowfall and rain could continue until the weekend and possibly longer with chances of “long delays and cancellations” on bus, rail and air travel services on Thursday and Friday, the weather service said.

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