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Storm Babet prompts closure of train lines across the Highlands tomorrow and Friday

By Federica Stefani

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Gynack Burn at Kingnussie. Picture: Network Rail
Gynack Burn at Kingnussie. Picture: Network Rail

Train services in the Highlands will be cancelled tomorrow and Friday as severe weather is expected to affect several north lines.

Network Rail said that the Far North Line between Inverness and Wick/Thurso and the Aberdeen to Elgin line will be closed after the Met Office issued a rare red weather warning earlier today.

Storm Babet is expected to bring torrential rain in Angus and Aberdeenshire and wind gusts of up to 70mph to parts of the north, with an amber warning issued for parts of the Highlands.

The line between Perth and Aviemore will also remain closed and speed restrictions will be introduced on lines in central and eastern Scotland.


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Liam Sumpter, Network Rail Scotland route director, said: “Our top priority is the safety of our passengers and colleagues, so we’ll close lines in the worst affected areas and introduce speed restrictions in others as a precaution.

“Our engineers will thoroughly inspect the network for any damage before we reopen the lines and restart train services.

“Weather specialists, based in our control room, will monitor conditions closely throughout Thursday and Friday, and our teams on the ground will be ready to deal with any issues Storm Babet may cause.”

Earlier today, the Met Office upgraded a yellow weather warning for rain and wind across the country to an amber and a rare red due to the torrential rain that’s forecast across Angus and south Aberdeenshire from Thursday until Friday afternoon.

This follows major disruption caused by torrential rain earlier this month.

Those in areas impacted by the red warning are being strongly advised not to travel.

Amber warnings for high winds have also been issued, with very strong winds expected on the east coast and far north of Scotland, which could uproot trees and blow them onto the tracks, damaging railway infrastructure.

Engineers will inspect the affected lines on Saturday morning for any damage, and will reopen them as soon as it’s safe to do so. Scotland’s Railway will use a combination of locomotives, foot patrols and helicopter inspections to do this.

A revised timetable will be in place across central and eastern areas of Scotland’s Railway on Thursday and Friday due to the extended journey times that the speed restrictions will bring.

These changes are being put in place as a precaution against potential flood damage to the railway as heavy rain can cause landslips onto the tracks or wash the stone ballast away from beneath the rails.

Extra engineers are being deployed across Scotland’s Railway to inspect lines, repair damage, and reopen routes as quickly as possible for passengers and freight customers once the weather clears on Saturday.

The following routes will be closed on Thursday and Friday:

  • Perth – Aberdeen via Dundee
  • Perth – Aviemore (Highland Mainline)
  • Perth – Dunblane
  • Aberdeen – Elgin (Aberdeen – Inverness line)
  • Tain – Wick/Thurso (Far North Line)
  • Fife Circle services

Passengers are advised to check their journey before travelling at National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator.

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