3 Feb 2015

How the snow and ice could affect your journey

Britain wakes up to a covering of snow on the ground this morning as temperatures plummet as low as -11C in some parts of the country.

Weather warnings for snow and ice remain on Tuesday, with rail and road travellers suffering a morning of train delays and widespread problems for motorists.

While some snow fell in London overnight, the coldest weather was reserved for areas which saw less snow and clearer skies.

The village of Dalwhinnie in the Highlands endured -11C, and it was just a few degrees warmer in Katesbridge Co Down where the mercury plummeted to -8C (17.6F).

Gritters were out in force in Hertfordshire with salting trucks already on their second run by 4.30am.

Later today it will struggle to get above 6C (42.8F) in parts of England, including London.

Trains cancelled

Signalling problems, broken down trains and “congestion” hit the railways, especially in the south east after the first serious fall of snow of the winter hit the region. Some trains were cancelled, while others were delayed on routes including the West Coast Mainline between Northampton and London Euston.

Other rail problems included delays of up to an hour between Cambridge and Stansted Airport because of a broken down train at Great Chesterford.

There were also delays of up to 20 minutes between Virginia Water and Weybridge in Surrey because of a signalling problem, while a similar issue at Faversham caused delays of up to 90 minutes between Ramsgate/Canterbury East and Gillingham. Signalling problems in the Bletchley area mean there will be disruption “until further notice”, London Midland said, advising passengers to travel only if it is essential.

While Virgin Trains have since said some signalling has been restored it added that cancellations may still occur. There were major problems on the roads during the rush hour this morning caused by ice and snow.

Traffic update

Meanwhile, it was estimated that traffic jams led to around 700 hours of delay for motorists in the morning rush hour. At 08.50am there were 7,096 separate congestion hotspots, causing 699 hours of delay, according to TomTom Traffic. There were 5,135 miles of tailbacks across the country – over 2,000 miles more than the average total jam length during a winter Tuesday morning peak of 3,076 miles.

In the greater London area alone, there were 2,814 traffic hotspots causing tailbacks of 1,901 miles – nearly four times the Tuesday morning average of 501 miles, it was found. The worst affected road was the M25 between J20 and J25 towards Hatfield, with stationary traffic for 14 miles causing delays of up to 100 minutes, according to TomTom’s Traffic data.

There were also delays of 100 minutes on the A43 between Kettering and Northampton. In Scotland, there were 220 congestion hotspots causing tailbacks of 164 miles in the Edinburgh and Glasgow areas. On a normal Tuesday rush hour, there would be 89 miles of delays in and between the two cities.