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Storm Jocelyn: Travel advice as heavy winds hit airports, trains and roads

Danger zones: Met Office weather warnings for Storm Jocelyn (Met Office)
Danger zones: Met Office weather warnings for Storm Jocelyn (Met Office)

Millions of travellers face disrupted journeys as Storm Jocelyn sweeps across the UK – with barely any respite since the last named storm, Isha, caused havoc, widespread cancellations of trains, planes and ferries is taking place.

The Met Office has issued yellow and amber weather warnings for high winds associated with Storm Jocelyn on Tuesday and early on Wednesday. They cover all of the UK except for the area south and east of a line between the Severn and the Wash.

Scotland is particularly hard hit once again, with high winds and heavy rainfall are set to cause major disruption to rail and ferry services. An amber weather warning for wind is in place for coastal areas from 6pm on Tuesday to 8am on Wednesday.

The Met Office warns: “There is a good chance that power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage. Longer journey times and cancellations likely, as road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected.”

Elsewhere, flights have been cancelled to and from London Heathrow due to predicted air-traffic control restrictions.

These are the key issues.

Rail

Scotland’s railway will be shut down entirely for the second time in three days from 7pm on Tuesday, ahead of Storm Jocelyn hitting.

Network Rail Scotland said: “Given the extraordinary number of incidents caused by the ferocity of Storm Isha, and the likelihood of more damage to our railway as Storm Jocelyn follows so closely behind, we’ve taken the decision to shut down all passenger and freight services from 7pm tomorrow [Tuesday]”.

Trains that are still running at 7pm will complete their journey at a reduced speed.

The organisation said: “Lines will remain closed on Wednesday morning until our engineers inspect tracks for damage and fallen trees or debris. This means services will start up later, like today [Monday].

“Our Integrated Control team has taken this decision to keep passengers and our people safe. We’re working with our train operators now on the details of this plan, and we’ll share more information as soon as we can.”

TransPennine Express, the intercity train operator in northern England and southern Scotland, has issued a Do Not Travel notice.

The state-run company is “strongly urging customers travelling to/from Edinburgh/Glasgow not to travel after 3pm on Tuesday 23 January”. Services are expected to be restored at 12 noon on Wednesday.

TransPennine Express says: “Services across the rest of the network are expected to be impacted, we strongly recommend you check before you travel and plan ahead.”

Avanti West Coast has urged Anglo-Scottish travellers to make their journeys early – and warned that none of its trains will run across the border between Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon.

The rail firm, which connects London Euston with the West Midlands, northwest England, North Wales and southern Scotland, says: “The last scheduled service from London Euston to Glasgow Central departs at 3.30pm (5.41pm from Preston) and is expected to be extremely busy.

“The last trains from Glasgow and Edinburgh will leave before 5pm. Our train service to and from Scotland is expected to resume no earlier than 12 noon on 24 January.

“Tickets to or from destinations north of Preston dated 23 or 24 January can be used at any time, and up to and including Thursday 25 January.

Avanti also warns: “Journeys in the northwest of England may take longer due to speed restrictions.”

Air

After hundreds of flights were cancelled, delayed or diverted by Storm Isha, airlines are preparing for more disruption as Storm Jocelyn.

British Airways has cancelled 10 domestic and European flights on Tuesday due to storm disruption, mostly to and from London Heathrow, with a return trip from London City airport to Rotterdam also grounded.

All the departures and arrivals are on routes that have frequent services, with passengers accommodated on other flights.

A BA spokesperson said: “Like other airlines, we have had to make schedule adjustments due to the adverse weather conditions across the UK and Europe caused by Storm Jocelyn.

“We’ve apologised to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans and our teams are working hard to get them on their way as quickly as possible.”

Jet2 is warning passengers that links to and from airports could be disrupted.

In a statement posted on its website, the Leeds-based airline said: “Due to the forecasted high winds and rain forecast throughout the day, customers travelling with us from the UK are advised to allow extra time to get to the airport and check with any transport suppliers you are relying on to get you to the airport for any disruption they may be facing.

“Currently we plan to operate all Jet2.com flights on time.”

Ryanair, which made dozens of diversions on Sunday night, has warned of “potential disruptions to/from the UK due to Storm Jocelyn”. Europe’s biggest budget airline said: “Affected passengers will be notified. We regret any inconvenience caused to passengers by these weather conditions, which are outside of Ryanair’s control.”

Loganair, the Scottish airline, says it intends to operate all scheduled flights – but is offering passengers booked on Tuesday or Wednesday the chance to rebook on an alternative flight up to seven days from the original travel date free of charge.

“Please note that unless your flight is cancelled, no refund will be offered for any operating service,” the carrier says.

Sea

Ferry passengers in western Scotland are facing widespread delays and cancellations as Storm Jocelyn approaches – with technical problems adding to the disarray.

All ferries linking Oban with Barra, Coll and Tiree are cancelled on Tuesday. The last ferry between Uig on Skye and Tarbert on Harris was due to arrive at 10.05am.

On the key link from Stornoway, on Lewis, to Ullapool on the mainland, the afternoon departure from Stornoway is cancelled.

“Strong winds and sea swell” are blamed for the cancellation all day of the ferry between Mallaig and Armadale on the isle of Skye. The bridge to the island from Kyle of Lochalsh remains open.

Travellers on the link between Ardrossan in Ayrshire and the isle of Arran face major problems. All sailings on Tuesday are cancelled due to a “technical issue combined with strong winds forecast on Tuesday afternoon”.

Passengers are warned: “Due to the ongoing technical issue combined with weather forecast, this service will be liable to disruption or cancellation at short notice.”

On the Channel, P&O Ferries are operating with delays of an hour or more between Dover and Calais.

Road

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Alice Simpson said: “With so much heavy rainfall and debris on the roads, driving conditions will be very challenging, especially across northern parts of the country where the weather is at its worst.

“Visibility will be severely reduced due to the spray from lorries and other large vehicles and the amount of water on the roads will increase stopping distances.

“We urge drivers to consider postponing their journeys in these areas if at all possible. Those that do need to drive should try to avoid exposed coastal routes where strong winds will make driving much more difficult.

“The best advice is to slow down significantly, leave plenty of room behind the vehicle in front and be aware of unexpected obstructions en route like fallen trees and branches, particularly on rural roads. We also suggest drivers avoid parking underneath or near to trees.”

The Met Office warns: “Some roads and bridges likely to close.”

In northwest Wales, motorists are warned that trucks, caravans, bicycles and motorcycles should not use the Britannia Bridge between the mainland and Anglesey due to high winds.