Commuters Hit By Storms And Rail Fare Hikes

January 3rd, 201212:33 pm @


Commuters Hit By Storms And Rail Fare Hikes

Stormy weather and rail fare increases have made it an unhappy start to the new year for many travellers across the country.

Large parts of the UK are being battered by winds of up to 100mph and heavy rain.

As commuters return to work and some children head back to school the Met Office has issued severe weather warnings across nearly every region.

Forecasters have told those living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to be prepared, while localised flooding and a marked drop in temperature is expected for parts of Wales and northwest England.

A red warning – the highest – has been issued in parts of central and southwest Scotland. People in those areas are being advised not to go outdoors and to make sure their homes are secure.

Malin Head in the Republic of Ireland has already experienced gusts of 105mph.

Some airports have been affected by the high winds, with Glasgow Airport urging passengers to check with their airline for delays or cancellations.

Train services have also been disrupted with reports of trees on lines and delays on East Coast services travelling to Scotland.

The roof of one of the stands at Epsom Racecourse has also blown off and the site was evacuated.

Elsewhere, people using the railways have had another reason to feel miserable as they are forced to spend an average of 6% more for their journey following above-inflation New Year price increases.

Some rail travellers have seen the price of their tickets go up by more than 10% in comparison with fare prices last January.

Epsom Racecourse

Epsom Racecourse has been affected by the winds. Pic: Jim Boyle


The Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) has urged rail travellers to contact the Treasury by tweets, text messages or phone calls to show Chancellor George Osborne their anger.

The Government scrapped its original plan to raise regulated fares by the RPI inflation rate plus 3%, so that the January 2012 increase is limited to RPI plus 1%.

But the Government still plans to bring in RPI plus 3% rises in January 2013 and January 2014.

Rail fare increases


Last week the CBT released figures which showed that some British commuters are paying between three-and-a-half and nearly 10 times more for some season tickets than some of their European counterparts.

In West London drivers have been stuck in queues created by the continued closure of the Hammersmith Flyover and high winds forced the closure of the QEII bridge on the M25 between Essex and Kent.

It is expected to reopen at lunchtime.

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Sky weather presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar said: “It will be very windy throughout this morning with gales and damaging gusts in many areas.

“Southern and western Scotland as well as the far north of Ireland will see the strongest gusts of around 75 to 85mph, but these areas could see higher.

“England, Wales and the Republic of Ireland will also see strong gusty winds of around 55 to 75mph as the rain moves away southeastwards with heavy downpours.

“There will be significant snow across Scotland today, a good four inches of snow is possible, mainly on higher ground.

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“Once the rain clears the southeast of England there will be a mixture of sunshine and showers but still gusty winds for north Wales, northwest England and the Midlands later this afternoon.”

A bus driver had to be freed after a large tree fell on his vehicle, trapping him inside in Witley, Surrey.

Avon and Somerset Police said they had 24 weather-related incidents between midnight and 10.45am, 19 of them relating to trees that had been blown over on to roads.

The Port of Dover in Kent announced that it had closed due to strong winds of Force 11 in the English Channel.

Nazaneen said the unsettled weather is likely to remain in place for the rest of the week with more heavy rain expected on Wednesday.

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