Following the brutal rainfall and high winds wrought by Storm Babet, ScotRail has revealed that the majority of its services are now running as normal.
Storm Babet created a vast number of issues in Fife which have led to a high number of challenges for ScotRail with only several trains able to operate in some of the worst affected areas since last Thursday the 19th of October.
Advice has been given by Network Rail that there will be further cancellations and delays to services operating on Monday the 23rd of October.
Due to this, ScotRail is advising its customers to check their travel plans regularly via its website, app or social media for the latest updates.
Disruption of services is as follows:
- The Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh Line will remain closed until at least Tuesday the 24th of October, due to the large amount of ballast which has been washed away during the storm.
- Trains will only operate between Inverness and Lairg due to serious flooding near Helmsdale and Rogart. Rail replacement buses will be in operation north of this for the Kyle route.
- The route between Aberdeen and Dundee will remain closed
Further to the effects of Storm Babet, unprecedented levels of leaf fall have been recorded alongside challenges such as fallen trees and debris on the line.
Leaf fall season creates havoc on the railways as leaves crushed by heavy trains create a slippery layer on the tracks, making them extremely slippery, similar to black ice on roads, making it unsafe to operate trains.
During this season, Network Rail uses a ‘Leaf Buster' train which clears the leaf mulch off of the rail by blasting it with a high-pressure water jet. Following this, a sandy gel is applied to provide grip.
Before Scotlands Railway can operate passenger services, it has to be totally confident that it is fully safe. Network Rail engineers are working day and night in order to return full service to all areas.
Scott Prentice, ScotRail Interim Commercial Director, said:
“The vast majority of services will operate as normal on Monday, and we look forward to welcoming passengers to take advantage of our off-peak all-day trial.”
“Unfortunately, we are still seeing some extremely challenging conditions on the rail network in Fife, the northeast, and the far north caused by the most rainfall experienced in Scotland since 1891.”
“Network Rail is working hard to clear debris, including fallen trees, and they are using special ‘leaf-busting' trains to clear leaf mulch that has made lines in these areas extremely slippery.”
“Our first priority is always the safety of customers and staff, and we won't run services until we are absolutely sure the lines are safe.”
“We thank customers for their continuing understanding and patience following Storm Babet in many parts of Scotland and we can assure them that we are doing everything possible to get the last remaining route closures open as quickly as possible.”