SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY (SWR) have confirmed they are planning to operate services on all routes later today (February 20), but have warned of challenging weather conditions as Storm Franklin arrived on Sunday; another Met Office yellow warning covering the region for wind. It comes just three days after Storm Eunice battered the UK, seeing millions of residents told to stay at home and transport networks cancelled across the country across last Friday (February 18).
With strong winds forecast, there will be a 50mph speed restriction across the SWR network on Monday to protect the safety of our customers and colleagues, causing delays and cancellations to services alongside longer journey times. This is a measure that was implemented on the network over the weekend starting on Friday, following red ‘danger to live’ warnings for the region.
SWR are also expecting further line blockages due to fallen trees and other forms of debris, adding that they strongly advise their customers to consider whether their journey is essential before setting off. The transport provider have furthermore confirmed that regrettably they are unable to guarantee replacement travel services will be provided during this challenging time of three storms in seven days.
Customers should check and re-check their journey before travelling, alongside at regular intervals if commuting to ensure their routes are going ahead. They can do this by visiting Network Rail or inputting planned journeys using the online link of: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey
Christian Neill, Customer Experience Director for South Western Railway said: “We understand Monday marks the first day back from half term for many and we are sorry for the continuing disruption these storms are causing. It has been an incredibly challenging few days and our teams have been working tirelessly to clear the tracks to safely run as many trains as possible. With more severe weather expected on Monday, we are asking customers to consider whether their journey is essential and make other plans if they can”
Mark Killick, Route Director for Network Rail said: “Storm Franklin is set to cause further disruption on our route so we’re asking our customers to consider if their journey is essential, and if it is, to check before travelling on Monday. With strong winds approaching from a different direction, it’s likely that trees weakened by Storm Eunice will be forced down and could block lines. The safety of our customers and our staff, who have worked around the clock since Friday to remove debris and repair damaged infrastructure, is our number one priority. I’d like to thank our customers for their patience over the last three days and again ask them to check before travelling.”
Since Friday’s winds of over 90mph, Network Rail have cleared more than 50 fallen trees from the South Western Railway region. With the wind direction expected to change it is very likely that more trees will come down during Storm Franklin, having been weakened over the last two days.
SWR have also confirmed that all tickets brought for travel between Friday and Monday will be accepted throughout Tuesday, when the weather is expected to settle down across the country with clear skies and sunny spells forecast in most recent Met Office update.
PICTURED BY ALARMY: Fallen tree causes blockage on train lines, which is one of many factors that could delay transport on Monday due to Storm Eunice.