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Travel Chaos Continues As Clear-Up From Storm Dudley Gives Way To Storm Eunice

Rail travellers across Britain face widespread delays and cancellations as the clear-up from Storm Dudley begins – with two major train operators warning against all travel on Friday because of Storm Eunice.

High winds in the northern half of Britain caused travel chaos. A Titan Airways plane carrying the Manchester City squad back from Lisbon forced to land at Liverpool after an attempt to touch down at Manchester was aborted. The Boeing 757 then flew in a holding pattern for 30 minutes before diverting to the Merseyside airport.

Almost all ScotRail routes are currently subject to “major disruption”. Most ScotRail train services ended by 4pm on Wednesday and will not open until around 10am on Thursday.

While lines are gradually reopening, widespread cancellations continue – including on the line from Glasgow to Ardrossan and Largs, which is currently blocked after a falling tree brought down overhead line equipment.

Dozens of other departures have been cancelled, including several trains on the West Highland Line between Glasgow, Oban, Fort William and Mallaig.

Caledonian MacBrayne has cancelled all ferry services on Thursday between Oban, Coll and Tiree, between Mallaig and the Small Isles and between North Uist and Harris.

Many sailings on other routes are disrupted.

In England, commuters and long-distance rail travellers on the key inter-city Midland main line face “major disruption until the end of the day”.

Damage to overhead electric wires between Bedford and St Albans means services north of London St Pancras on East Midlands Railway and Thameslink are severely reduced.

The line reopened at 7am, but with fewer than half the usual number of trains.

East Midlands Railway is telling passengers: “Staff are on site carrying out repairs, but not all the work can be completed this morning.

“Please consider travelling later in the day. Refunds are available if you choose not to travel.”

Many trains are running no further south than Bedford.

Passengers hoping to reach London from Leicester are able to travel via Nuneaton; from Derby via Birmingham; from Nottingham via Grantham; and from Sheffield via Doncaster.

The lines between Shipley and Skipton, and between Manchester airport and Wilmslow, are blocked because of falling trees damaging overhead wires.

Trains through Wolverhampton station are disrupted after storm damage to the roof. Some platforms are closed.

With Friday’s predicted Storm Eunice expected to bring winds of up to 100mph to southern Britain, LNER is warning travellers: “Please do not travel on Friday 18 February.”

The train firm, which links London King’s Cross with Yorkshire, Newcastle and Scotland, says: “Any customers with tickets dated for travel on LNER trains on Friday 18 February may travel on Thursday 17 February instead, or will be entitled to a full refund.

“We will be running a reduced service between London King’s Cross and York/Leeds. We expect these trains to be extremely busy and subject to short notice cancellations and alterations.”

Grand Central, serving West Yorkshire and northeast England from London King’s Cross, says tickets can be used on Thursday, or alternatively between Sunday 20 and Tuesday 22 February.

Avanti West Coast is telling passengers: “Due to the strong winds forecast with Storm Eunice, we’ll be operating an amended timetable on Friday 18 February – with fewer services and some journeys involving changes.

“In addition, an emergency speed restriction of 50mph will be in place on most of the route, significantly extending journey times.”

The train operator, which links London Euston with the West Midlands, northwest England and southern Scotland, is already running a much-reduced service.

On Friday it will run trains from London Euston to Birmingham and Rugby once every two hours, with connections – also every two hours – to Manchester and Preston.

Passengers for Glasgow must change again at Preston.

Both LNER and Avanti West Coast say passengers with bookings for Friday can travel on Thursday instead.

Cornwall Council has warned residents not to travel unless absolutely necessary. The council says: “The storm is likely to be as powerful as those that affected Cornwall in 2014, while forecasters have warned it still has the potential to strengthen further.

“The whole of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – in particular the Cornish north coast – can expect extremely high winds, with gusts of up to 80-90mph, even 100mph, around the coast and beaches.”

The train operator GWR says it is working on a contingency plan for rail services in southwest England.

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