East coast rail line reopens after downpours wreak transport havoc

Stranded cars are seen in flood water after torrential downpours caused flash floods in Jarrow.
Stranded cars are seen in flood water after torrential downpours caused flash floods in Jarrow.
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A KEY London to Scotland rail route through Yorkshire reopened today following the floods that have caused travel chaos and brought misery to many householders.

The clearing of the line between Newcastle upon Tyne and Berwick-upon-Tweed after a landslip meant the East Coast train company was able to run hourly services between London and Edinburgh.

The storms and heavy rain which afflicted large areas of the UK flooded various sections of the line and caused a landslip at Spittal, south of Berwick.

This deposited more than 40 tons of earth on to the track and washed away embankments supporting the line.

Southern England mainly escaped the bad weather yesterday, but light rain today delayed the start of the Wimbledon tennis championships and also held up play in the one-day cricket international between England and Australia at Lord’s in London.

One area where rail services were still being disrupted was in the West Highlands following a freight train derailment between Tulloch and Corrour and a landslip between Ardlui and Arrochar.

The bad weather left many roads impassable, with Tyneside, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Cumbria just some of the areas where flooding affected motorists.

Northern Powergrid said around 3,000 customers were still without power following the storms - down from 23,000 last night.

The worst-hit areas included Consett, Whitley Bay, Prudhoe, Shiremoor and Stanhope.

A musical festival this weekend expected to attract more than 100,000 revellers - the Godiva Festival in Coventry’s War Memorial Park - was cancelled due to the heavy rain.

Labour urged the Government to ensure flood-hit communities received funding to help with clean-up costs.

The Environment Agency said today that the April to June period this year was the wettest on record across England and Wales.

England and Wales have already received more than double the long-term average rainfall for the month of June.

Durham County Council said a major clean-up was under way after last night’s floods.

Worst affected were Lanchester and Chester-le-Street.

A spokeswoman said: “All available crews will continue with the clean-up operation today as a priority.

“Removing debris from the county’s road network will be a major operation and motorists are asked to take additional care this morning and to report any flood water or highways issues using the council’s Highways Action Line: 0191 370 6000.”

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has called for an urgent visit from United Utilities after flash flooding in Cumbria.

The MP visited flood-hit residents on Kendal’s Hallgarth estate last night to see the damage.

He joined county councillor John McCreesh on Low Garth on the estate where they saw a newly-laid road pulled up by the force of the water, as well as meeting residents whose homes had been flooded.

One elderly couple had to leave their home and went into sheltered accommodation, while others told the politicians about their concerns about cracked or damaged sewer pipes.

Mr Farron has called for an urgent meeting with United Utilities and residents to allow experts to look at the pipes.

He also praised the response of the emergency services and the county council for their actions during yesterday’s flash floods.

He said: “Yesterday I wanted to roll up my sleeves and help local residents so I went to Hallgarth to see what I could do to help. Local residents told me United Utilities were doing work that day on the drains, so they must know there is a problem.

“I want them to come and meet with residents urgently - some properties have been flooded twice in three years. We must sort this out once and for all.

“If any local residents need help with any flooding issue or insurance problems, they should get in touch with my office, and I will do whatever I can to help.”