Transport for Wales (TfW) is urging customers to check before they travel over the coming days, as Storm Barra is due to impact on the rail network from Tuesday 7 December (0600).
A revised timetable, to take account of necessary speed restrictions across Wales, is replacing the usual timetable until the end of service on Wednesday 8 December 2021. Depending on how Storm Barra plays out, this is also subject to last minute changes.
At this time, TfW has stopped short of warning customers against all but essential travel on their services. The impact of Storm Barra is predicted to be similar to that of Storm Arwen. That storm saw around 40 incidents of tracks being blocked by fallen trees and damaged 12 trains, many of which are still under repair.
Network Rail have put a 40mph speed restriction on most lines in Wales during the storm to ensure safety, but this means journeys will take much longer and the current timetable would not work. TfW staff have therefore created a special storm timetable to try to keep wales moving on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Speaking ahead of the introduction of the emergency timetable, TfW Director for Planning and Performance, Colin Lea, said:
“As a minimum, all customers need to check before travelling on Tuesday and Wednesday as an emergency timetable will replace our current timetable. This means a significant amount of our services will either operate at different times, take much longer to reach destinations, or may not operate at all.
“The safety of our customers is at the heart of everything we do and while we understand this may be inconvenient, intense winds and extreme weather patterns mean we have to make these temporary changes. We thank all customers in advance.”
With wind speeds expecting to reach 70mph in some parts of Wales, there is a very high risk of debris and trees damaging overhead lines and tracks.
Rachel Heath, Head of Operations Delivery at Network Rail Wales & Borders said:
“With Storm Barra on the way we are putting speed restrictions in place across many parts of Wales & Borders to keep passengers safe from debris and trees on the line.
“Our dedicated teams of engineers will be working day and night to respond to incidents and keep passengers moving.”