Storm Eunice: Flights and train services cancelled

Source: RailFreight; BBC; The Business Times; The Straits Times
Date: 19th February 2022

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled and many more delayed as Storm Eunice continues to cause transport disruption across the UK.

A number of flights at airports in London, Manchester, the Midlands and Devon have been affected.

Meanwhile, rail companies have issued a “do not travel” warning as storm damage is causing widespread line closures.

People are being urged to stay at home if they can amid severe weather warnings for parts of England.

A total of 436 flights have been cancelled across the UK so far on Friday, according to estimates from aviation analytics firm. Heathrow, London City and Manchester airports among the worst hit.

Around a fifth of all Heathrow Airport flights have been cancelled.

There have also been cancellations and delays at London Gatwick. One flight from Bordeaux to Gatwick had two aborted landings and then returned to France more than three hours after its departure.

Another British Airways flight from Chicago to Heathrow diverted passengers to Geneva.

BA and EasyJet have cancelled and reduced some flights.

Exeter airport has cancelled some flights to Edinburgh, Exeter and Belfast. Manchester, Birmingham and East Midlands airports have asked passengers to check their flight status with their airlines.

The Civil Aviation Authority is reminding people that airlines have a duty of care in the event of delays. This potentially includes providing food and drinks, as well as accommodation if there’s an overnight delay.

There have been widespread transport service cancellations, delays, road closures and ferry stoppages due to the Storm Eunice.

The Met Office upgraded their severe weather warning to red -. the highest level of alert – along the coastline of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset and south Wales with gusts of wind up to 90mph.

A further red warning for wind has been issued for London, south-east England and parts of east England.

The Port of Dover is also shut meaning no ferries will be sailing between Dover and Calais on Friday. City Cruises UK has cancelled all of its trips. Several ferry services due to sail across the Irish Sea have also been cancelled.

Network Rail said services into and out of most major London terminals are currently, or are in the process of, being suspended.

It said it has seen “scores of incidents of fallen trees and debris” blocking tracks or entangled in overhead power equipment.

Several other train companies have also issued a “do not travel warning”.

Rail Delivery Group, said: “Storm Eunice is causing widespread damage and we’ve had to respond by closing lines to keep our customers and staff safe.

“We’re telling people not to travel today [on Friday] and instead to claim a fee-free refund or use their ticket over the weekend.”

All services to and from London Waterloo have also been cancelled. Rail operator GWR has shut services and warned that there are “significantly” reduced long-distance train services elsewhere.

Transport for Wales, Chiltern Railways, Greater Anglia, South Western Railway and Southeastern also stopped running all services on Friday afternoon.

Network Rail said in the early afternoon that it aims to restart services later on Friday, but passenger are advised to make other plans for the weekend if possible and keep checking rail operators’ websites for the latest information.

Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, Great Northern, London North Eastern Railway, Southern and Thameslink have all advised people not to travel.

Transport for London said people should avoid non-essential travel, warning that “some services will be affected by the extreme weather”.

Meanwhile, Eurostar services to Amsterdam and Rotterdam have been disrupted as all rail traffic is closed from 14:00 in the Netherlands due to the weather conditions.

These trains will instead start and end their journeys in Brussels.

Trains that are running will need to travel at a slower pace of 50 miles per hour, which will make it easier for drivers to brake if there are objects on the track.

On the roads
The AA said it is experiencing a “very high demand” for breakdown services.

Motorists, particularly those driving HGVs, caravans and motorcycles, are being advised by National Highways to check the weather and driving conditions before setting out on journeys.

“Plan your trip and take extra care, allowing more time for your journey,” said head of road safety at National Highways.

Roads including the M8 between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and the M48 Severn Bridge, have been partially closed due to the high winds. Emergency 50mph speed limits are in place in many areas. The Britannia Bridge, which connects the island of Anglesey with mainland Wales has also been closed.

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