East Coast service set to resume

THE clean up operation is under way in the aftermath of the fierce rain which battered the region on Thursday.

The freak storm caused widespread disruption throughout north east England, the Borders and other parts of the UK on a day which Northumbria Police described as “a challenging 24 hours for us all.”

This landslip at Spittal has closed the east coast mainline

This landslip at Spittal has closed the east coast mainline

Newcastle and Alnwick were the worst hit, while the east coast mainline between Newcastle and Edinburgh was closed when the track was submerged by water and a landslip at Spittal forced trains to came to a standstill.

National Rail have confirmed that the landslip has now been cleared and the first southbound train is expected to leave Edinburgh at 12.25pm with a northbound service set to leave Newcastle at 12.52pm.

The number of trains that will be able to use the line is reduced and services will not be at their normal levels. Passengers are encouraged to use nationalrail.co.uk or @nationalrailenq for live service information.

There is currently no replacement bus service between Newcastle and Berwick, where 27.7mm of rain fell yesterday alone, taking the total so far for June to 162mm, more than three times the monthly average.

There was widespread flooding on the roads, with sections of the A1 closed or at a complete standstill. Other routes on both sides of the border were also flooded and some of them closed.

Traffic on the A1 at Haggerston and further south came to an absolute standstill as drivers faced treacherous conditions in rush hour.

Perrymans did well to keep its bus routes in operation, even though delays were inevitable.

In Berwickshire, flooding caused a number of routes in the Duns area to be engulfed in water. Duns Road in Coldstream also became impassable before the water level later subsided.

Heavy rain caused hazardous driving conditions on the A68 Lauder Road northbound between the Huntshaw Road junction in Earlston and the Brownsmuir Park junction in Lauder.

Further south, parts of Bamburgh Castle’s grounds were flooded, while the deluge left Alnwick town centre swimming under at least four feet of water.

Phone lines were also disrupted, with the O2 network going down in the Berwick area.

Northumbria Police reported that its 999 landline service went down in Red Row Embleton and Seahouses.

Shoppers were evacuated from Gateshead’s Metro Centre and there were severe disruptions to the Tyne & Wear Metro network with Newcastle’s Central Station closed to both metros and trains.

The number of properties in the north east without power supplies stood at 15,000 on Thursday night, with Consett, Whitley Bay, Prudhoe, Shiremoor, Newcastle City Centre and Stanhope the worst hit areas. Northern Powergrid engineers were working into the night to restore power.

Sporting events in north Northumberland and the Borders inevitably fell foul of the rainstorm, with Norham Running Club calling off their race and Berwick Wheelers 25 postponing their championship. It is now due to be held on July 19. The Spittal v Ayton bowls match was also postponed.

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