Scotland's weather: Rail and ferry disruption as safety checks take place after Storm Dudley

Rail and ferry passengers are facing disruption after Storm Dudley, with most ScotRail services withdrawn until around 10am.

Network Rail engineers are checking more than 1,400 miles of Scotland’s railway and ScotRail said services will not run until the lines have been cleared as safe to reopen.

Due to Met Office amber weather warnings for high winds, the final services departed across most of Scotland before 4pm on Thursday as wind and rain caused trees to be uprooted and debris blown on to tracks.

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Scotland was buffeted with strong winds as Storm Dudley swept across the country, with a gust of 74mph recorded at Drumalbin in South Lanarkshire, the Met Office said.

On Thursday morning ScotRail tweeted that as a result of strong winds and heavy rain due to Storm Dudley, passenger services have been withdrawn until around 10am, with the exception of a number including between Aberdeen and Inverness, Edinburgh to Dunbar and Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High.

It tweeted: “Due to the early shut down following #StormDudley we’re doing our best to get our services back up and running as quickly as possible.

“As @networkrailscot engineers continue to do safety checks our services will not run until the lines have been cleared as safe to re-open.”

Considerable damage was done to the line between Kilwinning and Largs, with the Network confirming that it was unlikely for trains to run in the area.

Rail and ferry passengers are facing disruption after Storm Dudley, with most ScotRail services withdrawn until around 10am.

David Simpson, operations director at ScotRail Alliance, said the storm had a “significant” impact on the network but work was well under way to restore services.

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “We’ve had some very significant damage overnight to clear, there’s been damage to overhead power lines, there have been trees down, there’s been damage to equipment.

“We’ve had teams out through the night working hard to clear that, so a lot of routes are open with more coming over the next couple of hours.”

Mr Simpson said the whole country was affected.

He added: “We had damage to the overhead power lines at Kilwinning, that affected services towards Largs, we’ve had trees down in various locations, so it’s been across the board really, these were very strong winds, they hit most of the central belt down towards the south west, so it’s been a very significant impact on the network.”

Ferry passengers also faced disruption.

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Caledonian MacBrayne tweeted that a number of ferry services were liable to disruption or cancellation at short notice.

Network Rail said its track inspections are well under way with teams out across the network inspecting more than 1,400 miles of track.

A yellow weather warning for ice in the Highlands and Western Isles is in place until 10am on Thursday.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney warned that the coming days will be “very challenging” as a result of Storm Dudley and the expectation of Storm Eunice on Friday.

He said: “We expect another period of disruption this week, with storms Dudley and Eunice set to bring strong winds to Scotland.

“High winds may cause issues on roads and bridges, disruption to power supplies and danger from falling trees.

“We would urge everyone to plan their journeys in advance, exercise caution on the roads, and follow the latest travel advice.”

Robert Morrison, CalMac’s director of operations, said: “This will be the fourth week of extreme and unprecedented weather disruptions.

“We shared last week that this is taking place when other factors are affecting our service – including technical faults, overhaul, and the continuing but lesser effects of Covid-19.

“We know we cannot control every factor, but we want to stress to our customers again that we do understand how much you and the communities we serve rely on our services.

“Ensuring ferries work as they should is our priority and we are working hard to ensure we limit the impact of this upcoming period of disruption as much as we can and protect the lifeline service we deliver.”