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Forecast changed too late for Network Rail to clear the tracks

By Amy Nickalls

Network Rail is considering using it's winter protocol after an unexpected amount of ice appeared on the tracks.

The Hastings Line was suspended for the morning and several lines suffered delays of up to 100 minutes.

The reason for the disruption was temperatures dropping over night.

Several train services were cancelled this morning
Several train services were cancelled this morning

Network Rail said the late change to the forecast meant it was too late for them to "mobilise the snow and ice treatment trains."

In several tweets the company said: "We’re terribly sorry to passengers for the widespread disruption this morning. When the forecast changed suddenly yesterday, it was impossible for us to mobilise the snow and ice treatment trains and all the crew needed to operate them at such short notice.

"Although we ran empty trains overnight to clear any ice before passengers trains started this morning, we’ve still encountered severe problems on the network. While temperatures close to zero were forecast overnight, we didn’t anticipate the level of ice we’ve had.

"The forecast was the same for the whole of the south of England, but Kent seems to have suffered more because it had rain in the early hours. Even the lightest shower of rain can freeze when it falls onto cold rails. That stops trains from drawing the power needed to move.

"As a result of today’s disruption, we are investigating the possibility of having snow and ice treatment trains on standby outside of the usual winter period."
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