Winter chills are the next challenge for region's travellers

COMMUTERS faced a fourth day of disruption as flooding continued to cause chaos on the region’s railways.

The flooded A690 between Meadowfield and Brancpeth
The flooded A690 between Meadowfield and Brancpeth

COMMUTERS faced a fourth day of disruption as flooding continued to cause chaos on the region’s railways.

Even those passengers who avoided being shunted on to replacement bus services were once again left frustrated as trains crawled through still waterlogged parts of the North East.

But there seems to be no respite in sight, with forecasters warning that over the weekend temperatures will plunge even lower than first thought.

A Met Office spokeswoman said the recent rain was the result of low pressure moving across the United Kingdom towards the Atlantic.

However, daytimes should now be fine and dry, with sunshine, although there was a warning that travelling conditions are going to be “a bit tricky”.

“People should be aware that roads could be quite slippy, as particularly with snow settling over the hills, there is an increased risk of ice from Friday night through to Sunday,” she said.

Overnight temperatures are now predicted to feel like minus 6C, the spokeswoman added. On the railways yesterday, problems for rush hour travellers were compounded by a national train information board blackout.

Network Rail said teams of engineers worked through the night in a bid to solve the problem, though many commuters arriving at North East stations in the morning had to rely on announcements about arrivals and departures from the public address systems.

The cold snap comes after parts of the North East saw more than a month’s worth of rain in a matter of days, with 68mm recorded at Albemarle, Northumberland and 48.2mm at Morpeth in just two days.

Yesterday, TransPennine Express said it was working with East Coast and Cross Country to try and keep travellers moving amid the “extraordinary weather”.

But services to the South remained very disrupted, with just one TransPennine Express train running every two hours.

A spokesperson for the firm added: “People are a lot more understanding about disruptions to the train service as the weather conditions have been extraordinary.”

East Coast Trains said it was operating a full timetable despite the significant disruption to Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s trains, with spokesman, Paul Williams thanking passengers for their patience.

To try and ease congestion, passengers with tickets for TPE, Cross Country and East Coast tickets were allowed to travel with any of the three companies, or aboard the shuttle bus services provided.










A MET Office spokesman said after a bitterly cold weekend, low pressure would push up from the south and bring with it rain, sleet and snow.

Temperatures will feel as cold as minus 6C tomorrow and Sunday, with ice a real danger on untreated paths and roads.

Forecasters say the weather will warm slightly on Monday, but damp conditions will once again sweep across the region bringing with them wintry weather for towns including Consett and Morpeth.


David Whetstone
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