Network Rail is urging passengers to not attempt to travel by rail for the remainder of the day with all train services suspended on the Western route, which runs between Penzance and London Paddington.

The decision to suspend services, which includes trains in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset; West of England; Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds; and Thames Valley and west London, has been taken with the safety of passengers and railway staff in mind.

Services are likely to remain suspended or disrupted for the rest of the day, and this will likely knock on into services tomorrow.

Gale force winds of up to 100mph have battered the region, particularly part of the south west, with a significant number of incidents reported, particularly large amounts of trees, debris and other objects blocking the line, causing delays and cancellations.

Teams from Network Rail have been braving the extreme conditions and working hard to respond to incidents, while support is also being provided, along with train operators, for those passengers who have already started their journeys.

Mike Gallop, Network Rail Western route and strategic operations director, said: “The decision we’ve taken to suspend all train services across the Western route is one that has not been taken lightly, however the safety of our passengers and colleagues is paramount.

“The message to passengers is clear – please do not attempt to travel by train today.

“Our brave front line teams are working tirelessly responding to the many instances of fallen trees and debris on track, so we are in a position to reopen the railway as quickly and safely as possible.

“I would like to thank passengers for their patience and understanding while we respond to this unprecedented weather, and we look forward to getting people moving again very soon.”