COP26: Hundreds travelling to Glasgow for summit delayed after fallen tree blocks West Coast Main Line
Network Rail confirmed a fallen tree on the West Coast Main Line blocked travel routes from Euston station for thousands of passengers, including delegates heading to COP26 in Glasgow.
Avanti West Coast warned of delays, cancellations and diversions to services on Sunday due to trees hitting power lines between Rugby and Milton Keynes Central, after stormy weather swept through the UK bringing suspected tornadoes to parts of the country.
The operator tweeted at 2pm advising customers not to travel, due to the extent of the disruption for services heading north of London. The East Coast line was also affected by the damage, it was confirmed.
Climate change scientist Simon Lewis said he has been stuck on a train for more than three hours as a result of the weather disruption on his way to COP26.
The 49-year-old professor, from University College London, was on the 11am service from London to Edinburgh but has been stuck since 11:45am as a result of trees felled by the wind.
“We are moving a tiny bit every now and again, but have not made it to Peterborough yet, the first stop,” he told the PA News Agency.
“This is inconvenient and a reminder that climate change drives extreme weather events and every country needs to adapt.”
He added: “But a stopped train is nothing compared to the two million people displaced by flooding in Shanxi province in China, last month, and those facing famine today in Madagascar.”
Network Rail told the Scotsman they hope to reopen the line later today for northbound services but warned passengers to check for national rail updates and expect delays due to the backlog.
It said a train carrying dozens of delegates to the climate summit in Glasgow had to be evacuated earlier this afternoon.
The service was stranded for hours at Milton Keynes with scores of scientists, journalists and government officials including Lord Goldsmith onboard.
Frustrated passengers took to twitter reporting a ‘rammed’ concourse at Euston while the only service available was to Watford Junction and no replacement buses were being provided. Network Rail confirmed the busy station was exit only for several hours.
A spokesperson said: “Intense, stormy weather has blown down trees blocking both the West Coast Main Line near Milton Keynes and the East Coast Main Line near Peterborough. Passengers are currently being advised not to travel.
“Our teams of engineers are on site at both locations and clearing the fallen trees and branches with chainsaws and other kit.
“Reports from site suggest the damage is not too severe and we hope to have the trees cleared and lines reopened in the next few hours, if not sooner.
"We’re very sorry to anyone who has had their journey disrupted today and would advise passengers to continue to check National Rail Enquiries for updates before starting their journey.”
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