Rail services have been canceled from London Euston to Glasgow and passengers have been urged to avoid non-essential travel as transport chaos overshadowed arrivals on the eve of the COP26 climate summit.
With all eyes on Britain as the host of the global climate talks, thousands of delegates have seen their journeys cut short due to storm damage in the Midlands region of England, which were allegedly caused by fallen trees during the weekend storms.
Among those caught in the large crowds squeezed into London’s Euston and King’s Cross central stations was Lord Zac Goldsmith, the Minister for the Environment, who was trying to get to Glasgow for the summit.
Winds peaked in excess of 60 mph after an area of low pressure in the Atlantic caused storms across the country, with yellow weather warnings still in place for the West Country on Sunday.
The Met Office said it was possible there were “localized” tornadoes, given the extent of the damage over the weekend.
“I am sitting on a stationary train waiting for the storm damage to be repaired so that I can continue traveling to the climate summit in Glasgow – the irony is not lost on me,” said said Ellen Gibson, UK organizer of the 350.org campaign group.
With no end imminent for the disruption, some delegates scrambled to find other ways to get to Glasgow, including flights and rental cars.
A spokesperson for Avanti, which operates the Euston Hotline to Glasgow, said “a tree or objects” disrupted the power cables on the line near Milton Keynes.
“Nothing passes on this section. Everything that comes out of Euston is caught up because of this blockage, ”he said. “We are experiencing extreme disruption. Our advice is not to travel.
Network Rail engineers were on hand to assess the damage in order to make preliminary repairs, the company said. “There are no northbound trains. Everything is blocked between Euston and Rugby. Asked how many travelers would be affected by the disruption, he replied: “There are going to be a lot of people. We have a lot of busy trains today. . . because of the COP26.
LNER, which operates the East Coast Mainline service from London to Edinburgh, an alternate route to Glasgow, also advised people not to travel due to damage to overhead electrical wires in Peterborough.
“Network Rail is on site and hopes to be able to reopen the lines soon,” he said. “Services will be very busy when they resume and remain subject to disruption for the rest of the day. We continue to advise you not to travel.
Transport disruption is the latest national issue to reach the summit of COP26 in Glasgow, where the UK government hopes to persuade countries around the world to commit to new environmental goals.
Meanwhile, the GMB union has announced that garbage collectors in Glasgow will start a strike from midnight Sunday over wages and conditions. A separate railway strike was called off earlier in the week, much to the relief of COP26 planners.
But in recent weeks, the lack of accommodation for COP26 attendees has also drawn attention, with some Glasgow owners raising prices even for those who booked well in advance.
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