Network Rail is thanking passengers for their patience and understanding during the recent storms as the railway today, (Tuesday 22 February), resumes regular train services.
Over the past week, the railway network has been severely impacted by storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin, resulting in widespread damage and disruption to passenger and freight services.
On Network Rail’s Western route (which runs between Penzance and London Paddington) there were around 200 storm-related incidents with these storms being the most devastating experienced since the infamous storm of 2014, that left only a swinging bridge of track at Dawlish and cut off the south west from the rest of the railway network.
Despite the severe weather, Network Rail and the train companies endeavoured to keep train services operating and passengers moving where it was safe to do so, implementing temporary speed restrictions and running limited services.
However, despite a concerted effort, the decision on Friday to suspend all services across the route, which included trains in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset; West of England; Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds; and Thames Valley and west London, was taken with the safety of passengers and railway staff in mind.
Since the early hours of Friday morning Network Rail has dealt with a significant number of incidents with its frontline teams braving the extreme conditions and working around the clock to clear the railway of trees, sheds, trampolines, roofs and other debris, and fixing damaged overhead electrical cables so that the railway is ready to welcome the safe return of regular passenger services.
Mike Gallop, Network Rail Western route and strategic operations director, said: ’The past week has seen the railway face some of the most severe storms the UK has experienced in over three decades.
’The number of storm-related of incidents we have faced is unprecedented and I am so proud of our different teams who have worked tirelessly, alongside our train operator colleagues, to clear the railway of unwanted debris, get trains running safely and reliably while supporting passengers on their journeys.
’It’s been a difficult time for passengers, and we are really grateful to them for their patience and understanding during this period of disruption. Through the hard work and determination of our teams and close working with the train operators, we’re delighted to welcome back passengers as regular services resume this morning.’
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