As severe weather disrupts railways, transport secretary calls meeting with bus and coach operators to assess response to ‘unprecedented’ situation

The passenger transport sector is grappling with the effects of severe weather across the country.

Network Rail estimates that storm damage has caused £100m of damage to the national rail network in the past two months.

Flooding in the south of England and Wales has resulted in severe disruption to services, and a number of line closures.

The most significant impacts include the collapse of an 80-metre section of the sea wall at Dawlish, in Devon, severing the Great Western Main Line.

Last week, disruption caused by flooding in the Thames Valley saw 4-5 trains per hour running into Paddington – a fifth of the usual frequency.

In the North West of England, 90mph also resulted in disruption.

The Rail Delivery Group said 4,000 staff were working around the clock to repair damage.

The bus industry has also played a role in tackling disruption. On February 13, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin chaired an urgent resilience meeting with bus and coach operators. He was said afterwards that he had been reassured that operators understood the “unprecedented situation we face”.

Intercity coach services continued to operate as normal, without significant disruption, with additional services in some areas affected by the weather.

Stagecoach’s bus operation in Devon has discounted fares on key routes by up to 50% to help travellers. The company is also accepting First Great Western rail tickets on its services between Exeter and Newton Abbott while rail services remain disrupted.

Train operators have also responded by offering reduced prices on some affected lines, and lifting ticket restrictions.


This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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