Scotrail is to end services early today (Wednesday) as Storm Dudley looks set to cause disruption across Scotland.
The storm is set to reach Scotland, with the Met Office issuing an amber weather warning for high winds across much of Scotland, including Stirling and Clackmannanshire.
The warning is in place from 4pm until midnight.
Wales could bring disruption to road, rail and ferry services and some roads and bridges are likely to close, leading to longer journey times and cancellations. There is the likelihood for failed trees and damage to buildings and a strong possibility that power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage.
A Met Office forecaster said: “Very strong westerly winds are expected to develop across western Scotland and northern Northern Ireland late Wednesday and extend eastward across southern Scotland and northern England during the evening. There is still some uncertainty in the timing and location of the strongest winds but there is the potential for inland wind likes of 70-80mph in places. Gusts of 80-90mph are possible around exposed coasts and hills.”
The rail operator has now said that train services will cease running early on Wednesday afternoon as a “safety precaution”.
Domestic rail services will be wound down by 4pm on Wednesday when the worst of Storm Dudley is expected to sweep across the country.
While the service will halt in many areas, services on the Far North, Kyle of Lochalsh, and Aberdeen-Inverness lines will continue to run and some cross-border services will operate too, but at reduced speeds.
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The strength of the winds expected could damage infrastructure, blowing debris and trees onto tracks and damaging equipment such as overhead electric power lines and signals.
Network Rail will have additional engineers out across the network ready to respond to developing problems and will check all affected lines for damage before reintroducing services.
Disruption on some lines is expected to continue until mid-morning on Thursday and passengers are being urged to check their journey before travelling.
Liam Sumpter, Network Rail route director for Scotland, said: “Storm Dudley has the potential to cause significant disruption to our infrastructure blowing trees onto tracks and damaging equipment.
“We will be working hard on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning to respond to any issues caused by Storm Dudley and will reintroduce services as soon as lines are inspected for damage and we are sure it is safe to do so.”
David Simpson, Scotrail service delivery director, said: “We know the impact that the earlier withdrawal of services will have on customers but it’s a necessary step to ensure the safety of our staff and customers due to the severe weather.
“If you have to travel tomorrow (Wednesday), please check the Scotrail app or website before heading to the station. With services being withdrawn in the early afternoon, we’d ask all customers to carefully plan ahead.”