Storm Ciara sparks planned suspension of some ScotRail services on the Inverness-Kyle of Lochalsh Line; LNER also announces reduced timetable for Sunday
RAIL services between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh are to be suspended during the height of Storm Ciara, ScotRail has announced.
It will be suspending services from early afternoon on Sunday and also plans to cancel a number of trains on Monday.
The Kyle Line is one of three routes on which ScotRail is planning to suspend services as a result of the storm force winds – which are expected to reach speeds in excess of 80mph.
The West Highland Line and the Glasgow-Largs/Ardrossan services will also be affected.
ScotRail also warned that other routes may be hit by weather disruption during the storm, and have urged passengers to keep tabs on its website for the latest information.
"We’re preparing Scotland’s Railway for Storm Ciara, with extreme wind, rain and snow forecast across Scotland until Tuesday, February 11," said a ScotRail spokesman.
"Met Office yellow warnings are in place from midday on Saturday until midday on Tuesday. Given the forecast, we expect to see some disruption across the network, so please plan ahead and consider the weather forecast in your area before travelling.
"Due to the extreme (80+ mph) winds that have been forecast affecting the West Highland and Kyle lines, services will be suspended from early afternoon on Sunday, on both routes. Replacement transport will only be in place if it is safe for buses to run.
"We’ve made these difficult decisions to keep our customers and staff safe, and to allow trains to stable safely before the worst of the weather hits.
"The routes will be inspected using locomotives before they reopen for passenger services, so please bear with us while this vital work is carried out.
Meanwhile, the rail operator has urged people living near the railway network to do their bit to help prevent disruption.
"Our Network Rail colleagues are out checking the network, to make sure it’s in the best shape possible. If you live near the railway, you can help us keep the network open by securing loose items like garden furniture, sheds or trampolines," they continued.
"Our Integrated Control team in Glasgow monitors weather stations right across Scotland’s Railway in real-time.
"This means we can make decisions based on the actual conditions, and we will only suspend services where absolutely necessary – to keep you safe."
Affected Kyle of Lochalsh Line services are:
- 1059 Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh – Cancelled
- 1512 Kyle of Lochalsh – Cancelled
- 1611 Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness – Cancelled
- 1208 Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness – Cancelled
- 0855 Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh – Cancelled
- 1056 Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh – Cancelled
ScotRail has advised passengers that if they are disrupted due to Storm Ciara, they will be able to use their train tickets to travel before or after the storm.
"If you've already purchased your tickets for all or part of your journey on the routes above for travel on Sunday or Monday, you can use your tickets to travel on Saturday up to and including Wednesday," the spokesman confirmed.
"Normal peak and off-peak ticket restrictions apply.
Meanwhile, LNER, which runs the Highland Chieftain rail service between Inverness and London Kings Cross - has also warned passengers of likely disruption.
It has announced that it will be running a reduced timetableand is advising people not to travel on Sunday.
"Very high winds are forecast across the UK on Sunday," they said. "We are expecting this to cause significant disruption to LNER services, and we will be running a reduced timetable.
"We are advising you not to travel on Sunday.
"Customers with LNER tickets dated for travel on this date, will be able to use their tickets to travel on any LNER train on Saturday (before 18:00) or Monday.
"If you choose not to travel, you will be entitled to a full refund. Please click here for more information."
The alterations follow warnings from ferry operator CalMac that some of its services will also be affected – including Ullapool-Stornoway.