Network Rail and train operators across the East Midlands are urging passengers to check their individual journeys before they travel on Sunday, 9 February, as severe weather is forecast, including winds of up to 80mph.

High wind speeds can cause damage to overhead line equipment, which is used to power trains. If this equipment becomes damaged, it can cause severe disruption for passengers. To try and minimise the impact the wind will have on the railway, speed restrictions of 50mph have been imposed along routes in the area.

The speed restrictions reduce the chance of overhead line equipment becoming damaged. However, this does mean that fewer services are able to run, and those which do run will take longer than usual. Severe disruption to services is expected and passengers should check with their train operator before they travel.

Strong gusts of wind can also lead to potential obstructions on the tracks, such as debris or fallen trees. Network Rail and train operators will have extra staff on hand right across the region to protect the railway and provide support for passengers, but severe disruption is expected. People who live near the railway are also encouraged to clear away garden furniture or trampolines.

There is already an amended service on both the East Coast Main Line and Midland Main Line this weekend. Services to and from London Kings Cross have been reduced as work continues on the £1.2billion East Coast Upgrade. On the Midland Main Line, the railway is closed between Bedford and Market Harborough with rail replacement coaches running instead.

Gary Walsh, Route Director for Network Rail, said:  for Network Rail, said: “We are well prepared for Storm Ciara and have extra teams working to allow as many trains as possible to run.

“There are essential speed restrictions in place, but I would like to reassure passengers that we are working closely with train operators and doing all that we can to keep them moving this weekend.

“We strongly advise passengers to allow plenty of time for their journeys, and to check before they travel via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator.”