First Capital Connect issues major disruption warning to train passengers ahead of severe storms
- Credit: Archant
Rail operator First Capital Connect (FCC) has warned train passengers to expect major disruption to services on Monday and Tuesday because of severe weather ahead of the Christmas break.
The Met Office has issued a Yellow warning of wind for the East of England region, covering Central Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk.
And First Capital Connect has urged commuters to travel early to avoid the expected disruption to services on Monday (December 23) and Tuesday, Christmas Eve (December 24).
FCC’s website states: “Severe weather is expected to impact our network over the coming days.
“Winds of 60mph are expected from 16.00 Monday to 10.00 Tuesday. We advise you to travel on Monday and Tuesday only if your journey is necessary.”
The company’s website today (Sunday) adds: “In light of the expected disruption on Monday and Tuesday, if you have an advance purchase ticket dated 23 or 24 December you can use it on First Capital Connect today. If you are travelling for Christmas we advise you to do so as early as possible.”
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FCC operates the Great Northern route through Knebworth, Welwyn North, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, Welham Green, Brookmans Park and Potters Bar, as well as the Hertford loop, which includes stations at Watton-at-Stone, Hertford North and Cuffley.
It also runs the Thameslink route through Harpenden, St Albans, Radlett and Borehamwood.
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Of its services into London King’s Cross and Moorgate, First Capital Connect’s website says: “We will be running a reduced service on the Great Northern route all day, with trains running at reduced speed for safety reasons.
“While First Capital Connect and Network Rail will do everything possible to maintain a service on all routes, the forecast high winds can be expected to lead to further disruption and services are expected to finish earlier. Evening peak restrictions will be lifted.”
As for the Thameslink route into St Pancras, FCC adds: “We plan to run a full service on the Thameslink route until approximately midday.
“After this time a reduced service will operate on the Bedford to Brighton route. Delays can be expected on all routes as Network Rail may instruct us to operate at a reduced speed for safety reasons.
“Services are also expected to finish earlier.”
A full timetable showing services FCC plans to run tomorrow (Monday) will be available on the operator’s website as soon as it has been confirmed.
With the wind expected to be at its highest overnight, there will be further rail disruption on Tuesday morning.
FCC’s website says: “For safety reasons, it is likely to be necessary to check all lines for obstructions after daybreak before services can resume.
“We will run services as soon as it safe to do so, but services may start much later than normal.
“Services are likely to remain disrupted for the rest of the day so anyone travelling is advised to do so as early as possible to ensure they reach their destination on Christmas Eve.
“Please remember services will begin to shut down for Christmas from around 20.00 and planned engineering work means we are unable to operate any later trains.”
A statement from FCC apologised for any delays.
It said: “We are very sorry for the expected disruption to your journey over the next few days. First Capital Connect and Network Rail will do everything possible to minimise the disruption while ensuring safety during the expected severe weather.
“The services of all transport operators are expected to be affected, so please check with them too if you are travelling further afield. Please continue to check for updates before travelling.”
National Rail has also issued a severe weather warning to passengers via social media.
Its Twitter handle, @nationalrailenq, tweeted: #UKstorm Poor weather conditions are forecast for Monday 23 December, and may affect train services”
Motorists are also being advised by Herts County Council’s highways department to be careful on the roads.
HCC Highways (@Herts_Highways) tweeted earlier today (Sunday): “Heavy rain and strong winds forecast for tomorrow and the next few days Please Drive with Care.”
Agency gritters are also on standby tonight (Sunday), with clear skies forecast after midnight and temperatures set to fall.