Network Rail and train operators in Yorkshire and the North East are urging passengers to check their individual journeys before they travel on Sunday, 9 February, as severe weather is forecast, including winds of up to 80mph.
High wind speeds can cause damage to overhead line equipment, which is used to power trains. If this equipment becomes damaged, it can cause severe disruption for passengers. To try and minimise the impact the wind will have on the railway, speed restrictions of 50mph have been imposed along routes in the area.
The speed restrictions reduce the chance of overhead line equipment becoming damaged. However, this does mean that fewer services are able to run, and those which do run will take longer than usual.
Strong gusts of wind can also lead to potential obstructions on the tracks, such as debris or fallen trees. The safety of our staff and passengers is our main priority and extra teams will be out across Yorkshire and the North East. People who live near the railway are also encouraged to clear away garden furniture or trampolines.
There is already a reduced service on the East Coast Main Line this weekend, as work continues on the £1.2billion East Coast Upgrade. Once complete, this project will bring faster journeys, more frequent services, more seats and a more reliable railway. Storm Ciara is expected to bring severe disruption to services.
Matt Rice, Route Director for Network Rail, said:
We would like to reassure passengers that we are doing all that we can to keep them moving this weekend, but disruption to services is expected.
We are well prepared for Storm Ciara and have extra teams working to allow as many trains as possible to run. We are working closely with train operators.
With essential speed restrictions in place, we strongly advise passengers to allow plenty of time for their journeys, and to check before they travel via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator.