Holiday getaway begins amidst flooding and rail failures chaos
Terrible rail failures and floods have wrecked the festive travel plans of thousands of Britons across the country.
On Friday, the busiest day of the festive getaway, a signal failure at Paddington Station caused huge problems to those passengers needing to reach Heathrow Airport. The failure meant that there were no Heathrow express trains and no rail connection between Hayes and Paddington and almost every train to Wales and the south-west was delayed or cancelled.
British Airways and other airlines were helping passengers yesterday morning by fast-tracking them to make sure they were not left unable to fly.
In the meantime, landslides and 300 flood warnings delayed the departures of many others. In Scotland the A9, the main road to the Highlands, was closed for part of the day at Ballinluig and Pitlochry in Perthshire, and flooding was reported also in Tayside, Angus and Aberdeenshire.
In addition to the over 20 floods warnings for one night in Scotland alone, the village of Wallington, Hants, had to be evacuated due to the cracks that appeared in a wall built to protect residents. The Environment Agency said in a statement: “The river level is high and will remain so for some time… If the cracks become bigger and the wall fails catastrophically the village will be inundated rapidly.”
In Moreton, in Dorset, a caravan was swept away into the River Frome, while in Hampshire a motorist and passengers who ignored warning signs to drive through a ford in Waterlooville had to be rescued by fire crews.
Weather conditions have also dashed dreams of a white Christmas for this year as the Met Office issued a flurry of wet weather warnings about further downpours in the run-up to Christmas.
Steve Willington, Met Office Chief Forecaster, said: “The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings which means that the public should plan ahead to take account of possible travel delays or disruption, especially as they make their way to friends and family for the Christmas period.
“By thinking ahead, the public can be more weather aware and better prepared for severe weather.”