Winter Weather

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Just like road and air travel, the winter weather can pose challenges for the rail network – and potential dangers to passengers. Its effects range from speed restrictions on exposed routes, to the suspension of train services. 


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​High winds can blow objects on to the line and heavy rain can cause flooding and landslips, which means trains must stop until the line is cleared, and a thorough safety inspection of the track is carried out.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Snow and ice, in particular, can cause significant issues. In very cold weather, snow and ice can build up on the tracks and coat the electrified third rail and overhead power cables, preventing trains from drawing the power they need to run and leaving them stranded.​​​​​​​

In very snowy weather where snow lies deeper than 30cm, trains can’t run safely unless they have been fitted with snow ploughs. To help keep passengers moving we operate a special winter fleet, complete with:

  • Hot air blowers
  • Steam jets
  • Brushes
  • Scrapers
  • Anti-freeze
  • Helicopters and drones with thermal image cameras

Thousands of our people work around the clock in all weathers, monitoring, maintaining and repairing the tracks so that we can run a safe and reliable service.

So, this winter, make sure you check before you travel. ​​​​​​​



Last updated:   25 November 2021