Snow dust causes transport meltdown

Motorists make their way through the snow at Barrington in Cambridgeshire

Ploughs work to clear snow at Stansted Airport in Essex

First published in National News © by

A light dusting of snow sent the UK's transport system into meltdown on Wednesday, with a major holiday airport shut for more than two hours and road and rail journeys delayed.

Forecasters said the snow had amounted to no more than "one or two centimetres in places", but nevertheless air and train passengers endured miserable delays.

There was also a 10-vehicle crash on the A229 at Whitstable yesterday morning, Kent County Council said.

Commuters will be relieved to hear the snow flurries that brought parts of southern England to a halt will be absent, as weather experts predict little more than a sprinkling in the north.

For Scotland it will be a different picture. Overnight temperatures plunged to minus 12C in Braemar, and up to 15cm (6in) of snow could fall on higher ground, and 3cm (1.25in) in Aberdeenshire, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

On Wednesday Luton, Aberdeen and Stansted airports were affected by the wintry conditions. Stansted airport in Essex was shut from about 6am to 8.30am, and passengers' patience wore thin as flights were delayed and then cancelled.

Flight schedules for Stansted are currently operating as normal, the airport's website said, and Luton airport also showed no indications of delays.

Rail routes in southern England were also hit by poor conditions. Trains were cancelled between Watford Junction in Hertfordshire and Harrow and Wealdstone in north west London, while snow caused delays of up to 90 minutes between London and Reading in Berkshire. There were cancellations between Barnes and Hounslow via Brentford in west London, while there were delays between London and Ashford International in Kent and also between Sevenoaks in Kent and Hither Green in south-east London.

The A120 was one of the many roads in Essex to be affected by the weather, while the A171 near Scarborough was one of Yorkshire's snow-hit routes.

By 11.30am the AA had attended nearly 5,000 breakdowns, with a peak around 8am of 1,300 an hour. It said the Home Counties, particularly Essex, had been badly hit.

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