NEWS
02/03/2018 14:26 GMT | Updated 02/03/2018 18:47 GMT

UK Weather Forecast: Transport Disruption Creates Friday Night Chaos

'It's not an easy weekend.'

Commuters have been urged to make their way home immediately amid mounting disruption at major transport hubs as blizzard conditions continue.

Despite amber and red weather warnings being lifted earlier on Friday, snow continued to wreak havoc on roads, railways and airport runways.

Train companies said services at some of Britain’s busiest stations would “wind down” from 6pm, but there are already reports of widespread delays and cancellations.

[LATEST: Southeastern becomes first major rail firm to say ‘give up and stay put’]

A yellow “be aware” weather warning of snow is still in place across Scotland until 11.55pm on Saturday and across some parts of the country over the weekend into Monday.

The weather - sparked when the Beast from the East collided with Storm Emma on Thursday - has caused dangerous driving conditions nationwide while hundreds of schools remain closed.

And the military has once again been called in to help rescue stranded motorists - with many reports of collisions and incidents on roads across Britain.

[READ MORE: Can you take a day off if you can’t get to work? Your rights in the snow explained]

Meanwhile the Irish Met Office has extended its red weather warning for the counties of Dublin, Kildare, Wexford, Wicklow and Meath to 9am tomorrow.

Trains

A number of rail and bus services in the amber alert area were suspended throughout Friday morning.

Virgin Trains East Coast are running no services north of Newcastle on the east coast on Friday and does not expect to run services between Carlisle and Scotland for the rest of Friday on the west coast.

London Waterloo, the UK’s busiest train station, will close at 8pm on Friday as services on South Western Railway wind down from 6pm.

Reporters on the ground have described the current situation there, as of 3.58pm, as “very busy”.

While one commuter said simply: “Trains down... Everything delayed”.

[CHECK YOUR TRAIN: See National Rail’s list of current disruptions]

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Owing to the continued extreme weather conditions we are asking people not to travel across the South Western Railway network today unless absolutely essential.

“Services across the route will also be stopping early this evening.

“We thank passengers for their patience as we manage these extreme conditions and anyone who has to travel today should check National Rail and South Western Railway websites.”

Southern is advising passengers to complete all journeys before 3pm on Friday. A spokesman added: “While a good service is currently running on most routes, the weather is expected to deteriorate this afternoon and we may be prevented from running services on some routes.” 

C2c announced 90% of scheduled trains will run as usual on Friday with the exception of some peak services and a normal timetable is planned for Saturday and Sunday. 

Greater Anglia is running a reduced service on Friday with limited weekend services subject to delays, cancellations and alterations. 

TfL rail has listed planned cancellations for Friday between Liverpool Street and Shenfield and Gidea Park. A spokesman added: “Aside from these cancellations, we plan to run a full service this afternoon and evening.” 

Flights

Here are the 10 airports with the most cancellations as of Friday evening:

  1. London Heathrow: 370
  2. Dublin: 342
  3. Edinburgh: 219
  4. London City: 153
  5. Bristol: 139
  6. Glasgow International: 132
  7. Manchester: 70
  8. London Gatwick: 69
  9. Southampton: 58
  10. Birmingham: 53

Flights at Scotland’s busiest airports are facing another day of disruption and cancellations.

Edinburgh Airport was open and Glasgow Airport said teams worked through the night clearing snow from the airfield, but passengers have been warned to only travel to the airport once they have checked the status of their flight with the airline. 

Roads and public transport  

After hundreds of motorists were forced to spend the night in their cars on the A31 in Hampshire, police have announced the road is now accessible and those who abandoned their vehicles there may retrieve them. 

Greater Manchester Police have issued guidance to drivers in that area after a similar incident overnight on the M62.

A number of bus operators are also warning of disruption to routes on Friday morning while Edinburgh Trams is running a reduced service.

Hundreds of schools up and down the country will remain closed, including in Glasgow, South Lanarkshire, East Lothian, West Lothian and Edinburgh.

Glasgow School of Art has also been closed until Monday.

Centre Parcs guests due to arrive for the weekend on Friday have been told to stay away for safety - with the company offering alternative dates or refunds.

Meanwhile, according to posts on Twitter, some of those currently holidaying in the idyllic forest villages have been given a free weekend break to avoid travelling home through the snow.

Sport

The weekend sporting programme continues to be badly affected by the wintry weather, with Saturday’s Sky Bet League One game between Shrewsbury and Peterborough called off.

Sub-zero temperatures have left parts of the Montgomery Waters Meadow pitch frozen and, with the temperature not set to rise above freezing, the club took an early decision to call it off.

The League Two fixtures at Barnet, where Port Vale were the visitors, and Exeter, who were scheduled to host Chesterfield, have also been postponed.

In Super League, Hull say they expect Friday night’s televised game against Warrington to go ahead despite traffic problems.

Hull say the pitch and surrounding areas at the KCOM Stadium are not a concern and they are aware of the M62 being closed over the Pennines. The Warrington team are due to set off early afternoon.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers played down the disruptive weather ahead of the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final against Morton at Parkhead on Saturday.

The Ladbrokes Premiership leaders home game against Dundee on Wednesday night was called off and the players given were individual training programmes for Thursday before they trained at Celtic Park on Friday.

Rodgers said: “The pitch is fine, it is playable for the game and there is lot of work gone on around the stadium to make it safe and secure for the supporters. We have played a lot of games so we have had a bit of a breather for a few days so it won’t do us any harm. The guys trained very well this morning and we are ready for the game.”

The team has rearranged its postponed Ladbrokes Premiership game against Dundee for Wednesday, April 4.

A statement on the club’s official website read: “Celtic’s SPFL fixture against Dundee which was postponed on Wednesday due to the adverse weather conditions has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 4.

“The rearranged match will kick-off at 7:45pm and falls between Celtic’s last two scheduled games before the league split – at home to Ross County on Saturday, March 31 and away to Hamilton Accies on Sunday, April 8.”

West Brom are set to travel south for their Premier League match at Watford via the train.

“We’ve been fortunate that the weather hasn’t affected us too much. We are still going to Watford on the train,” Albion boss Alan Pardew said, quoted by the club’s Twitter account.

“It’s not an easy weekend for football. Hopefully we can get down there, give a good performance and warm our fans up.”

Ipswich announced Saturday’s Championship clash with Hull at Portman Road had been postponed for safety reasons.

The Tractor Boys said on their official website: “The pitch is protected and likely to be playable but the areas inside and outside the stadium are hazardous and more bad weather is forecast later today, with freezing temperatures to continue into the weekend.”

Mansfield’s League Two visit to Stevenage became another game to fall victim to the weather following a lunchtime pitch inspection at the Lamex Stadium.

Stevenage said on their website: “The pitch has been deemed frozen and with worsening weather expected in the area this evening, the safety of supporters has also been taken into account.”

Other Saturday fixtures falling foul of the weather were the League One game between Blackpool and Northampton at Bloomfield Road and Cheltenham’s League Two home match against Notts County, which was rearranged for Tuesday.

The Aviva Premiership match between Harlequins and Bath scheduled for Friday evening has been moved to Sunday.

Premiership Rugby spokesman said: “Following South Western Railway’s decision to close their service by 8pm and their advice not to travel, along with the worsening weather conditions in the Twickenham area the decision has been made to postpone. We will always prioritise the safety of our supporters and club staff.”

Aberdeen and KIlmarnock have both agreed that their William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final should go ahead on Saturday but the South Stand at Pittodrie will be closed.

A Dons statement read: “After further discussions this morning which took into account: the readiness of the pitch, condition of the stadium interior, surrounding areas and the latest information available from Police Scotland and Transport Scotland regarding weather and travel conditions, both clubs have agreed to progress with the match as planned.

“Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions water supplies have been affected in parts of the South Stand. As a result, the decision has been taken to close the South Stand to home supporters for this match.”