Railway passengers are being told they face disruption as Storm Ciaran has forced trains to be cancelled.
Southeastern, the company covering much of the south of England, has warned customers to avoid the Mainline services before 9am because of the inclement weather. It says strong winds could lead to debris and fallen trees landing on the tracks.
As a result, passengers travelling between London and parts of Surrey, Kent, and Hampshire will face disruption until at least 9am. There will also been speed restrictions in place for anyone heading to the Kent coast.
Any passenger heading towards a Mainline route before 9am is “highly unlikely” to complete their journey, says Southeastern. It comes as an amber weather warning is in place for much of the south coast until 5pm.
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A Southeastern spokesman said: “Storm Ciarán will bring very high winds to our region throughout Thursday.
“Given the high winds that are forecast and the risk of fallen trees and debris being blown on to the tracks, we’ll need to check that routes are clear of obstructions before trains are able to run, this will result in cancellations of early morning trains on our Mainline routes. Speed restrictions will be introduced on many routes, especially those to and from the Kent coast, which will result in significant disruption.”
It added: “Even after this time, severe disruption is highly likely throughout Thursday so we would recommend that you work from home if you can or postpone your journey until Friday.
“We’re expecting to operate our High speed services to and from Ashford as well as our “Metro” routes, but disruption to these services cannot be ruled out. If routes do close, replacement transport won’t be available as there’s likely to be an impact on the roads as well.”
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The Met Office predicts Storm Ciaran will bring gusts of up to 80mph in some areas with 85mph likely around the “most exposed” parts of the coast towards the English Channel.
It says: “The extent of these high winds remains a little uncertain and is dependent on the exact track of Storm Ciarán with parts of Sussex and Kent most likely to see gusts of this magnitude. Winds will begin to ease from the west during the afternoon. Very large waves could bring additional impacts to coastal areas, especially along the English Channel coastline.”
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