U.K. Travel Delays Persist as Storm Kills a Dozen Across EuropeRobert Wall and Peter Levring
London commuters faced a second day of travel disruption and thousands of homes were without power in the wake of a storm that killed four people in southern England and at least a dozen across northern Europe.
Greater Anglia, which serves Liverpool Street station in London’s financial district, advised people not to travel and the Stansted Express airport link remained shut for the morning as Network Rail Ltd. worked to fix tracks and wires damaged by falling trees. Germany’s Deutsche Bahn AG offered a restricted service, with routes from Hamburg in the north worst affected.
Hurricane-force winds and driving rain swept through Britain before reaching continental Europe and Scandinavia. Two people were crushed by trees yesterday in southeast England, with two more dying in a glass explosion linked to falling debris, and almost 58,000 homes remained without electricity today. Two died in Denmark, where winds accelerated to 120 miles per hour, making the storm that country’s worst since 1999.
“Despite working throughout the night on Monday, Network Rail have found further trees on the lines and damage to overhead wires,” Greater Anglia said on its website, listing six of 13 routes out of Liverpool Street as suffering major disruption and three others as impacted to a lesser degree.
About 48,000 properties in eastern England, where the storm raged before heading out over the North Sea, had no electricity this morning, together with 9,000 in the southeast, after more than 550,000 were initially cut off, U.K. Power Networks said.
Some 900 engineers have been deployed to restore power, six times the usual number on duty, and helicopters are continuing checks on remote cables, according to the company’s website.
Train operators to the south of London, where services are generally powered by a third electric rail rather than overhead cables, were generally less disrupted today, with Southern Rail and the Gatwick Express airport shuttle running normally.
Still, Stagecoach Plc’s South West Trains, the top operator at London Waterloo station, the busiest in Britain, was affected by damage to signaling equipment caused by falling timber, and Go-Ahead Group Plc’s Southeastern also warned of morning delays.
More than 100 trees were blown down across lines or wires, according to infrastructure owner Network Rail, where Robin Gisby, managing director for operations, said yesterday that the impact of the storm had been “more severe than expected.”
Transport for London, which runs the city’s subway or Tube, reported a good service across all its lines, including the Overground network which was largely shut yesterday.
Electricite de France SA’s Dungeness B nuclear plant on England’s south coast remains closed after its two reactors automatically shut down when power supplies were cut off by falling debris, and could take a week to restart.
The Met Office said the storm was southern England’s worst since 2008 and the most severe in the autumn for 11 years. Winds hit 99 miles per hour on the Isle of Wight and 50 millimeters (2 inches) of rain fell overnight in nearby Hampshire.
In Germany, fatalities included four people killed when trees fell on cars in Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhr and in towns in the northern states of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, the DPA news service reported.
Some 27,000 of EON AG’s Swedish customers were without electricity as of 1:49 p.m. Stockholm time, with power restored to almost 99,000 households, according to the utility’s website. Train tracks have now reopened, together with the Oeresund crossing -- Europe’s longest combined rail and road bridge -- between Malmoe in Sweden and Danish capital Copenhagen.
In the Netherlands, where one person died, the Dutch Association of Insurers calculated that local storm damage amounted to 95 million euros ($130 million), excluding agricultural and government businesses.