Scotland’s Railway is asking passengers to check before travelling as forecast severe weather will mean speed limits and reduced services on some routes between Wednesday and Friday (October 27-29).
With extreme rainfall expected to sweep across the west of the country, service levels on the West Coast Mainline will be significantly reduced and journeys will take significantly longer than normal.
Over 100mm of rain is expected to fall in just 24-hours in some locations, and trains will need to travel at reduced speeds to manage the weather conditions.
Customers planning to travel between Glasgow, or Edinburgh, and Carlisle are being advised to consider if their journey is essential and only travel if absolutely necessary.
Speed limits will also affect services between Edinburgh and Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle and on the West Highland lines.
These changes are being put in place as a precaution as heavy rain can potentially cause landslips and flood damage to the railway.
Additional engineers will also be deployed across the network to inspect lines, repair damage, and reopen routes as quickly as possible for passengers and freight customers.
Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: “Extreme rainfall can pose a serious risk to the railway causing landslips or damaging our infrastructure and bridges. Slowing trains down will means drivers will be better able to halt their train when a problem is spotted.
“The safety of our passengers and colleagues is our main priority during periods of poor weather and slowing services down, and running fewer trains, will help us manage these conditions for everyone.
“We will be monitoring the weather conditions closely throughout and have specialist teams ready to deploy quickly to deal with any issues, but we are advising passengers only to travel if absolutely necessary in the affected areas.”
Gus Dunster, executive director of operations and safety at Avanti West Coast, said: “Due to the heavy rain forecast, we’ll be operating an amended timetable to and from Scotland on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 October. As we’re expecting disruption to our services customers travelling north of Preston on these dates are advised not to travel and instead amend their journey or claim a fee-free refund from their point of purchase.
“We are working closely with Network Rail and TransPennine Express to monitor the weather and recommend customers check the National Rail Enquiries website for the latest updates.”
Matthew Golton, managing director for TransPennine Express, said: “It is likely that heavy rainfall and severe weather conditions will cause significant disruption to our West Coast Mainline services over the next few days and we are advising customers not to travel on this route unless their journey is absolutely necessary.
“The safety of our customers is our number one priority, and we will continue to monitor the situation with Network Rail over the next few days. Anyone that experiences a delay may be entitled to compensation with more information available at: www.tpexpress.co.uk/help/delay-repay-compensation ”
David Simpson, ScotRail operations director, said: “We’re doing everything possible to mitigate the impact of this week’s severe weather conditions, but customers should check their journeys before travel.
“Working closely with Network Rail, we’ll keep the weather conditions under constant review and advise customers of any disruption via our social media feeds, website, and app.”
Customers can check their travel plans with National Rail Enquiries at www.nationalrail.co.uk, or their individual train operator.