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COP crisis as hundreds of delegates are stranded in London


Hundreds of delegates hoping to travel to Glasgow for the COP26 climate summit by train have been left stranded inside London’s Euston station tonight after torrential rain and 80mph gale-force winds saw trees fall on the railway lines and halt services.

Network Rail tonight urged passengers to go home and ‘travel tomorrow instead’ after the extreme weather caused damage to overhead electric lines. 

The railway company said they were ‘truly sorry’ for the disruption to passengers and admitted ‘today’s extreme weather got the better of us.’

The scenes of chaos comes as more than 100 world leaders descended upon Glasgow today as the first day of the two-day world leaders’ summit takes place at the Cop26 UN climate conference. 

Tonight spokesman for Network Rail, Chris Halpin, said: ‘I’m afraid there are still major delays on the West Coast main line and the advice once again is to not travel this evening.

‘That’s because the diversionary route by Northampton that we had been able to run trains is now not viable.

‘We had problems on the West Coast main line at Long Buckby this afternoon because overhead lined were damaged by trees that had come down in the very wet and windy weather that we had overnight.

‘We had been running a diversionary route that got a limited number of services back up and running again but that now is closed and blocked because of problems with the overhead electric lines there.

‘Our engineers are working as fast as they possibly can to try and get routes back up and running again so we can get people on the move but our advice to people this evening is not to travel.’ 

A statement from the rail company added: ‘We’re advising passengers seeking to get from London to Glasgow to travel tomorrow. This is due to the impact of heavy rain has had on the railway today.

‘All line north have been affected at times including the West Coast main line, which remains impassable due to damaged overhead electric wires.

‘We are truly sorry for this. We exist to get people and good swiftly from A to B. But today’s extreme weather got the better of us.’    

Tonight, National Rail’s live departure and arrivals board showed delays to more than 20 trains, including those travelling to Glasgow Central, Liverpool Lyme Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Crewe and Northampton.  

Avanti West Coast confirmed it was ‘unable to run any services into and out of London Euston’ and ‘strongly advised’ customers not to travel and South Western Railway also told commuters that disruption was expected on their services tonight.

Climate change scientist Simon Lewis, from University College London, who was on the 11am service from London to Edinburgh for COP26, said he had been stuck since 11:45am as a result of the weather disruption.   

He wrote on Twitter: ‘My train to Glasgow #COP26, via Edinburgh to avoid the crowds, now stationary due to gale force winds and severe rainfall causing a tree to fall on the line…’ 

The scientist later added: ‘This train ride is certainly Halloween themed, it’s a true horror show. Four hours late and no buffet since about 2pm.’ 

Elsewhere David Johnson, who is attending Cop26 as chief executive of the Margaret Pyke Trust, said he was left sitting on his train from London Euston to Glasgow for more than half an hour before being told to get off along with fellow passengers.

He said: ‘After an hour on the train to Glasgow, which never actually left London Euston, we were asked to get off. Back on the station concourse we read the COP signage ”Thank you for travelling by train”. The chance would be a fine thing.’ 

Needing to reach the conference, Mr Johnson decided to book a flight from Gatwick to Glasgow which, he said, ‘does, of course, seem ridiculous’. 

Hundreds of passengers hoping to travel to Glasgow for the Cop26 climate summit by train have been left waiting inside London’s Euston station (pictured above)

A passenger reacts whilst waiting in Euston Station after trains were cancelled ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference

A passenger reacts whilst waiting in Euston Station after trains were cancelled ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference

Pictures on social media have shown a packed London Euston station after a tree falling caused damage to overhead lines, suspending all trains

Pictures on social media have shown a packed London Euston station after a tree falling caused damage to overhead lines, suspending all trains

Many of the passengers were hoping to travel to Glasgow for the Cop26 climate summit, but have been left stuck in London Euston

Many of the passengers were hoping to travel to Glasgow for the Cop26 climate summit, but have been left stuck in London Euston

Hundreds of passengers await news on when trains will be up and running again. All passengers have been advised not to travel today

Hundreds of passengers await news on when trains will be up and running again. All passengers have been advised not to travel today

Delegates, campaigners and journalists travelling by train to the Glasgow climate conference fell victim to a weather chaos today after a fallen tree on a railway line. Pictured: London Euston is exit only due to overcrowding and suspended services

Delegates, campaigners and journalists travelling by train to the Glasgow climate conference fell victim to a weather chaos today after a fallen tree on a railway line. Pictured: London Euston is exit only due to overcrowding and suspended services

A Reuters reporter on a cancelled train service said several passengers at London Euston (pictured) had changed their travel plans and were booking flights to Glasgow where the United Nations COP26 climate conference kicks off on Sunday

A Reuters reporter on a cancelled train service said several passengers at London Euston (pictured) had changed their travel plans and were booking flights to Glasgow where the United Nations COP26 climate conference kicks off on Sunday

Climate change scientist Simon Lewis, from University College London, said he has been stuck since 11:45am while David Johnson, who is attending Cop26 as chief executive of the Margaret Pyke Trust, said he was left sitting on his train from London Euston to Glasgow for more than half an hour before being told to get off

Climate change scientist Simon Lewis, from University College London, said he has been stuck since 11:45am while David Johnson, who is attending Cop26 as chief executive of the Margaret Pyke Trust, said he was left sitting on his train from London Euston to Glasgow for more than half an hour before being told to get off

‘The irony of the climate impacting the trains, meaning a flight to the climate change conference is the only way to get there today, is not lost on me,’ he added. 

Just before 2pm this afternoon, an announcement in the station revealed all train services had been suspended and the concourse was ‘exit only’ due to overcrowding. 

Pictures on social media showed the concourse packed with stricken travellers, many of whom were hoping to travel north for the climate conference which began on Sunday. 

Others reported being stuck on slow moving or stationary trains – some for more than three hours – while others were forced to book domestic flights to reach the summit.

It came as parts of the UK may saw tornadoes today, the Met Office said, after strong winds and rain battered the country. 

Gusts of over 80mph have been recorded with reports of wind damage which caused major delays to travel out of London.

The disruption at Euston came as a result of damage to overhead electrical wires between Rugby and Milton Keynes on the West Coast Main Line. Network Rail said its teams are on site near Long Buckby in Northamptonshire, where the damage occurred.

The company said it is working to remove the fallen tree before assessing the damage and beginning repairs. Travellers are advised not to go to Euston and instead check for regular updates.  

In a statement National Rail said: ‘Severe weather is causing disruption on various South Western Railway routes. Disruption is expected to continue until the end of the day.

‘There have been multiple incidents affecting the South Western Railway network today. 

‘These include the following: Overrunning engineering works at Berrylands, overrunning engineering works at Guildford, multiple trees fallen across the network, an electricity supply issue at Fratton depot, a train fault at Guildford, a trespasser between Epsom and Leatherhead, flooding at Gillingham, a train fault at Richmond, a signalling problem at Motspur Park, a trespass incident at Isleworth, an ill passenger at Motspur Park, a  precarious tree at Petersfield and an electricity supply problem at Totton.’

 ‘This has caused severe disruption to trains and train crew.’

Wind damage has been reported in multiple areas of the UK on Sunday with the Met Office unable to rule out whether any tornadoes have taken place. 

Yellow warnings for wind and rain are in place over large parts of the west and elsewhere, and more are likely.

Meteorologist Tom Morgan said: ‘We’ve got a deep Atlantic area of low pressure that’s bringing a very heavy band of rain and squalling winds across the whole of the country, but particularly in the south of England,’ he said. 

‘We’ve seen some very strong gusts of wind on the south coast… and a few reports of damage from the winds.

‘It’s not out of the question that there will have been some localised, brief funnel clouds or tornadoes.

‘In the last couple of days we have seen some reports and seen some photos of funnel clouds and water spouts, which are similar to tornadoes.’  

He added that wind speeds of 87mph were recorded at an exposed location on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, and there were gusts of 60mph across Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex. 

Train passengers trying to reach Glasgow for the Cop26 summit have said it is ‘ironic’ their journeys were disrupted by stormy weather felling a tree onto the railway.    

Hundreds of passengers are left stranded at London's Euston Station tonight as torrential rain and gale force winds batter the country

Hundreds of passengers are left stranded at London’s Euston Station tonight as torrential rain and gale force winds batter the country

Stranded passengers looked at the arrivals and departures boards after they were told their trains had been delayed or cancelled

Stranded passengers looked at the arrivals and departures boards after they were told their trains had been delayed or cancelled

Tonight National Rail's live departure and arrivals board showed delays to more than 20 trains, including those travelling to Glasgow Central, Liverpool Lyme Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Crewe and Northampton

Tonight National Rail’s live departure and arrivals board showed delays to more than 20 trains, including those travelling to Glasgow Central, Liverpool Lyme Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Crewe and Northampton

Hundreds of passengers continue to wait in Euston Station after trains were cancelled ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference

Hundreds of passengers continue to wait in Euston Station after trains were cancelled ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference

Pictured: Vehicles travel through standing water during heavy rain in Bromsgrove, in the West Midlands, this morning

Pictured: Vehicles travel through standing water during heavy rain in Bromsgrove, in the West Midlands, this morning

 

Waves crashing by the Porthcawl lighthouse in south Wales on Sunday as strong winds and heavy rain batters the UK

Waves crashing by the Porthcawl lighthouse in south Wales on Sunday as strong winds and heavy rain batters the UK

A car submerged under water at Furnace Grange Road, Wolverhampton, after heavy rains hit the area on Sunday

A car submerged under water at Furnace Grange Road, Wolverhampton, after heavy rains hit the area on Sunday

Vehicles travel through standing water during heavy rain in Bromsgrove, West Midlands, amid weather warnings for rainfall

Vehicles travel through standing water during heavy rain in Bromsgrove, West Midlands, amid weather warnings for rainfall

A dog walker struggles through winds and rain in Wimbledon Common. The Met Office warned winds could reach 70mph

A dog walker struggles through winds and rain in Wimbledon Common. The Met Office warned winds could reach 70mph

Heavy downpours: A yellow weather warning is in place across several areas of the UK, including most of the south, where a man at Wimbledon Common is pictured struggling with an umbrella amid heavy rain

A man struggles in the wet and blustery conditions and high winds reaching up to 50mph on Wimbledon Common

Heavy downpours: A yellow weather warning is in place across several areas of the UK, including most of the south, where walkers at Wimbledon Common, in London, were pictured struggling with an umbrella amid heavy rain and high winds

Climate change scientist Simon Lewis said he 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 said.

‘This is inconvenient and a reminder that climate change drives extreme weather events and every country needs to adapt.

‘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.’

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for large parts of the country the south and north west of England and eastern Scotland.

The warnings mean that some flooding is likely and drivers have been warned to expect standing water on roads, meaning journey times could be impacted. 

One resident in Amesbury, Wiltshire, thought they had witnessed a ‘hurricane’ hit the area after spotting bins flying and trees breaking due to the powerful winds.

Infectious disease ecologist Dr Emma Gillingham tweeted: ‘Did a hurricane just hit Amesbury, Wiltshire? Incredible wind suddenly from nowhere, trees breaking, wheelie bins flying and all calm again now.’

Inspecting the damage: High winds in the south left several trees uprooted in parts of Bournemouth this morning

Inspecting the damage: High winds in the south left several trees uprooted in parts of Bournemouth this morning

A huge tree narrowly missed a home in Bournemouth today as gale-force winds and heavy rain swept across the UK

A huge tree narrowly missed a home in Bournemouth today as gale-force winds and heavy rain swept across the UK

Pictured: tree crashed through a garden wall in Bournemouth after the UK was battered by high winds and heavy downpours

Pictured: tree crashed through a garden wall in Bournemouth after the UK was battered by high winds and heavy downpours

Dramatic scenes in Bournemouth as strong winds and heavy rain brought down trees in usually quiet residential streets

Dramatic scenes in Bournemouth as strong winds and heavy rain brought down trees in usually quiet residential streets

Broken trees and a bin blown across a residential street in Amesbury, Wiltshire, as strong winds and heavy rain batter the UK

Broken trees and a bin blown across a residential street in Amesbury, Wiltshire, as strong winds and heavy rain batter the UK

The infectious disease ecologist thought she had witnessed a hurricane, such was the strength of the wind and rain

The infectious disease ecologist thought she had witnessed a hurricane, such was the strength of the wind and rain

However, the Met Office said it believed the ‘hurricane’ was in fact a ‘squall’, the name for a ‘sudden, sharp increase in wind speed lasting minutes’.

Northamptonshire Police said they had received a high number of calls relating to the weather conditions and that trees had fallen on scores of roads in the county.

Reverend Richard Coles, vicar of Finedon, took to social media after a blustery close call.

He tweeted: ‘We were just praying for the COP26 conference in church when we were hit by what I can only describe as a tornado, which took out a number of trees including this pre Conquest yew.’

South Western Railway has also apologised to customers after trees blocked part of the network, saying there may be cancellations, delays and alterations to services.  

It comes as three people are feared to have drowned and another is fighting for their life after they were swept off their paddleboards when a sudden storm turned a flooded river into a torrent on Saturday night.

The three, part of an organised outing, had been in the water only minutes when they were hit by a deluge of rushing water as they paddled near a weir on the swollen river in Pembrokeshire.

They were swept from their boards and seen ‘in distress’ in the River Cleddau, near the town centre of Haverfordwest.

Steven Keats, meteorologist, said conditions would begin ‘going downhill’ on Sunday.  

Strong gusts coming from the west will brought a ‘wild start’ to the day, with potential for further disruption and wet weather going into the first week of November, according to the Met Office.

The yellow weather warning is also in place for Glasgow, where the global Cop26 climate conference begins today. 

Norwich fans in the rain outside the stadium before the match ahead of their Premier League match against Leeds United on Sunday afternoon

Norwich fans in the rain outside the stadium before the match ahead of their Premier League match against Leeds United on Sunday afternoon

He added: ‘Further West heavy rain will be picking up and there’ll be some heavy rain coming in from the Atlantic.

‘That will dominate the weather into tomorrow.

‘Heavy rain will push across into…western parts of England and Wales and be accompanied by some pretty strong and gusty winds.’  

He continued: ‘Given the fact that trees are in full leaf and the ground is pretty saturated in many areas, you could get one or trees coming down.

‘It’s going to be very unsettled.’ 

Mr Keats said declining temperatures throughout next week would bring a ‘seasonal’ feel and that weather would remain ‘unsettled’, though risks of ‘hefty downpours’ remained.

‘The most disruptive potential from the weather will be in the next 24 to 36 hours’,  he said. 



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