Storm Gerrit brings tree down on railway line Sussex

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A tree fell on the railway line in Sussex on Wednesday evening (December 27) amid the arrival of Storm Gerrit.

Southern Rail reported around 5.30pm that there was a ‘tree blocking the railway between Three Bridges and Horsham’.

A spokesperson added: “Trains are running at a reduced speed through the area, whilst Network Rail response teams make their way to site.

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"Please check before you travel and allow extra time for your journey this evening.”

Southern Rail. Photo: Sussex World / stock imageSouthern Rail. Photo: Sussex World / stock image
Southern Rail. Photo: Sussex World / stock image

In an update at 7.45pm, Southern said the tree had been ‘removed from the railway’ and ‘trains can run at normal speed’, adding: “Services are no longer being affected by this.”

This incident came after a yellow warning was put in place for large parts of Sussex ahead of Storm Gerrit. The storm brought strong winds and heavy rain to the UK on Wednesday.

The warning indicated that strong winds were ‘likely to lead to some transport disruption’.

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Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders said: “Winds across southern coastal areas of England will be strong, possibly peaking around 70 mph on exposed coastlines, but more widely around 50-60 mph within the warning area."

The RNLI also issued a warning, reminding coastal residents and visitors to be ‘aware of the dangers’.

Further railway disruption due to ‘obstruction’

Around 5.30am on Wednesday, Southern reported an ‘obstruction on the track’ between Southampton Central and Chichester. The line towards Chichester was blocked.

Trains between Portsmouth and Chichester were disrupted until midday – when the lines reopened.

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However, just two hours later, a further issue in the same area occurred – a points failure between Fratton and Havant. This affected services to/from London Victoria and Portsmouth Harbour, with some services terminating and restarting from Bognor Regis or Chichester.

Trains were running back to normal by 8pm.