Storm Babet travel update: Chaos hits trains and ferries with warnings to avoid parts of rail network

Travel chaos caused by Storm Babet continues with major disruption on the railways and warnings not to travel on large parts of the network.

Seven people have died after days of heavy rain sparked flooding, cutting off towns and villages and trapping people in their homes. Thousands of households have been hit by power cuts and the Environment Agency warned flooding could last for days, with hundreds of alerts still in place.

The Met Office is promising a drier and brighter day on Sunday but the travel disruption is set to continue for those trying to move around the country.

Network Rail says the routes linking Edinburgh with Inverness and Aberdeen will be badly affected by severe weather all day, and that speed restrictions will apply on other lines.

“Major disruption to services in Scotland is expected until the end of the day,” the tracks operator said.

Anyone who makes it to Edinburgh may find their problems are only just beginning, because the East Coast main line is heavily disrupted.

Saturday was chaotic on the line linking Scotland, northeast England and Yorkshire to London, with King’s Cross station closed for a time because of the sheer number of passengers trying to make journeys. Many of those people will be back to try again on Sunday – only to find delays and cancellations, including a number caused by staff shortage.

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) tickets for Sunday are valid until Friday.

The main line from Sheffield to London is closed north of Derby because of flooding, and the lines from Derby to both Matlock and Sheffield.

Trains wait on platforms at Kings Cross station in London (EPA/NEIL HALL)
Trains wait on platforms at Kings Cross station in London (EPA/NEIL HALL)

Elsewhere, Skegness is cut off from Nottingham and Norwich is cut off from London due to flooding on the line north from Ipswich.

In Wales, Transport for Wales warned of flooding on some lines, and has urged passengers not to travel south from Llandudno on the line to Snowdonia.

On the seas, the overnight Northland ferry from Aberdeen, Orkney and Shetland, which normally sails at 5pm, left 11 hours late and won’t reach Lerwick until 6pm tonight. This evening’s overnight sailing will be at least four hours late.

In the Western Isles, the main problem is residual disruption from Friday and Saturday on Caledonian MacBrayne ferries. The company had planned extra sailings between Ullapool and Stornaway to clear traffic from previous cancellations, but they have been cancelled due to a technical issue with the vessel’s sewage system. The first sailing from Tarbert to Uig is also cancelled.

Scottish train stations left submerged underwater following mass floods (Network Rail)
Scottish train stations left submerged underwater following mass floods (Network Rail)

On the Channel, DFDS Ferries says “all services are currently operating with delays due to strong winds in the Channel”. The advice is to check in as normal and you will be put on the first available sailing to Calais and Dunkirk.

Leeds Bradford airport was closed for 24 hours on Friday and Saturday after the storm caused a plane to skid off the runway and knock-on disruption is continuing. Some planes overnight arrived at Leeds Bradford many hours late, and consequently, there are further delays for departures today.