Network Rail and train operators are advising passengers to check their journeys this weekend, with Storm Ciara expected to bring winds of up to 80mph across Britain.
High winds have the potential to damage overhead lines and tracks, for example through debris or lineside trees falling on to the railway. To keep passengers safe, reduced services and speed restrictions are likely to be in place across large parts of the rail network on Sunday.
Nick King, network services director at Network Rail, said: “We are working closely with our train operator partners to ensure passengers and freight are moved as safely and reliably as possible over the weekend and into Monday morning, but with such strong winds expected across large parts of the country, there will inevitably be some reduced services and speed restrictions in place. We advise passengers travelling on Sunday and Monday to check their journeys before setting off.”
Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail, said: “This weekend, train companies and Network Rail will be working together round the clock to keep people safe and on the move. With 80mph winds predicted for much of the country anything from trees to trampolines could be strewn across the tracks so we’re advising people to check National Rail Enquiries before setting out on their journey.”
While the strongest winds are expected on Sunday, disruption could follow into Monday morning because high wind levels can make it unsafe for engineers to work at height, or with certain machinery, meaning any repairs might not be completed in time for Monday morning’s services.
Passengers travelling on Sunday and Monday morning are urged to check their journeys before they travel, via their train operator and National Rail Enquiries.
Lineside neighbours are also asked to help keep the railway free of any unexpected debris by tying down or clearing away garden furniture and trampolines.