Most rush hour trains cancelled as storm sweeps in

Most rush hours trains across the Anglia region have been cancelled until at least 9am as strong winds sweep in. Photo: PA

Rail commuters are facing a miserable Monday morning as the heavy rain and high winds look set to cause delays and cancellations.

Most train companies in the Anglia region have already announced they will be running amended timetables, with some not operating at all until late morning.

Network Rail said passengers should allow extra time to reach their stations and to catch connecting trains because road conditions are also expected to be hazardous.

First Capital Connect said it was not expecting to run a service until 9am while Southeastern said it will run an amended timetable with the possibility of services not starting until 9am or 10am.

There will be no Greater Anglia or Stansted Express services until after 9am, and after that there will be a reduced service on all lines with significant disruption expected.

The Laindon shuttle will not run in Essex and some other short-notice delays and alterations may also occur on c2c services.

The East Coast train company said it would be operating a revised emergency timetable on Monday.

It added that Network Rail (NR) was not allowing trains to run south of Peterborough, where the most severe weather is expected, until the worst of the storm had passed and until such time that engineers have been able to check railway lines in daylight for fallen trees, branches or other debris which may have blown onto, or damaged, the infrastructure.

East Coast said its trains would be restricted to a 50mph maximum speed south of Peterborough from the time when the lines reopen until 10am. In addition, electric trains will be restricted to an 80mph maximum speed south of York from 3am to 3pm.

Most rush hour rail services have been cancelled as a precaution against the bad weather. Credit: PA

West Coast main line operator Virgin Trains said an amended service may run before 9am on Monday when there will be speed restrictions between Birmingham and Rugby and between Rugby and Euston station in London Euston.

The company added that journey times may be extended by up to 60 minutes.

"Passengers will, I hope, understand that their safety and the safety of our workforce has to be the rail industry's number one priority during such severe weather. We will be monitoring conditions on the ground throughout the night and into the morning, but we simply cannot allow trains to run until the storm has passed and we have been able to make sure that the railway is safe and free of obstructions."

– Robin Gisby, Network Rail

Eurostar announced it would be unable to run any cross-Channel rail services until 7am to allow the high-speed train lines to be inspected.

The 5.40am and 6.50am services from London will set off at least one-hour late and will be subject to 50mph speed restrictions.

All other services up to noon will be subject to about 20-minute delays. Passengers are advised to check in as normal and monitor the latest updates.

The QE2 Bridge at the Dartford Crossing is closed until the winds die down Credit: PA

The Highways Agency said the Queen Elizabeth II bridge on the M25, which forms part of the Dartford River Crossing between Essex and Kent, is clsoed due to the high winds.

However, the tunnel part of the crossing is expected to remain open and will operate in contraflow (one tunnel running in each direction) to allow traffic to still get across the Thames.

The agency said other areas were also being affected by strong winds.