With gusts of around 70mph forecast across the region, Network Rail and train operators are preparing for the impact of Storm Ciara this Sunday with speed restrictions and some reduced services expected.
There is the potential for damage to overhead lines and tracks caused by debris or fallen trees, which could severely impact passenger services both on Sunday 9 February and into Monday 10 February.
If damage occurs, the high wind levels mean it may not be safe for engineers to work at height or with certain machinery until the wind levels have dropped. This could mean that repairs won’t be completed for a normal Monday morning service. Passengers are being asked to check before they travel and keep in touch with the latest information provided by train operators via their websites, apps, Twitter and contact centres.
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail's route director for Anglia said: “We’re working hard to get all our resources and people in place to deal with any potential damage that Storm Ciara might bring. In the event of damage, while every effort will be made to get the network running, we need to make sure we don’t put anyone at risk. The safety of our staff and passengers is our absolute priority. If that means delaying repairs until the gusts have gone, I am certain that is the right thing to do.
“I know if this happens it will have a big impact on everyone’s start to the week, but that’s why we’re getting a message out now, so people can prepare if the worst happens. We will work with train operators to keep you all updated over the weekend as we know more.”
Lineside neighbours are also being asked to help keep the railway free of any unexpected debris by tying down or clearing away garden furniture or trampolines.