THE Great Storm of 2013 has brought travel chaos to passengers, with all forms of transport hit by the hurricane-force conditions.
While the North-East was not hit by the worst of the storm, dozens of trees have fallen on to rail lines and roads, causing disruption across the country.
No East Coast trains were able to run in or out of London’s King’s Cross station. There were no services running south of Peterborough and all other East Coast southbound trains were terminating early.
The East Coast company said that, as a result, many trains were subject to short-term cancellation and delay, and currently there was no firm indication when services will be resumed.
The company went on: “As a result of the severe disruption, East Coast customers are advised not to travel today. If you hold an East Coast ticket for travel today, this will be valid for travel tomorrow. You are advised to travel tomorrow on a service as close as possible to the original time of your departure.”
East Coast said the storm damage had resulted in multiple incidents involving overhead power lines, with many fallen trees and debris across the line - and the heavy rain had flooded track in places, causing problems to signalling.
It went on: “Network Rail is working hard to clear the debris from the track and to resolve other issues, but it is likely that this work will take much of the day.”
The port of Dover had to shut, more than 130 flights at Heathrow Airport were cancelled and many roads were impassable due to fallen trees.
DFDS Seaways services between Newcastle and Amsterdam have been disrupted.
The Princess Seaways was slightly delayed and was expected to arrive into Newcastle at 11.45am instead of 09am.
The King Seaways is significantly delayed and will not be expected to arrive into Amsterdam until 3pm instead of 09.30pm.
The chaos was likely to last well into the day, with the First Capital Connect train company saying there would be no services until further notice.
Some of the other train companies said they would be unable to run services until at least 10am. These included Stansted Express and Greater Anglia.
While RMT union leader Bob Crow blamed the lack of services on staff cuts, rail infrastructure company Network Rail (NR) said lives would have been put at risk if trains had run during the early morning storms.
There were severe delays on Britain’s busiest motorway, the M25, due to the shutting of the Queen Elizabeth II bridge at the Dartford River Crossing. A section of the M11 in Essex was closed due to an overturned lorry.
On the England-Wales border, the M48 Severn Bridge was closed in both directions between junction 2 at the A466 (Chepstow) and junction 1 at the A403 (Aust), because of strong winds.
Other motorways with hold-ups included the M2 in Kent, the M3 in Surrey, the M4 in Berkshire, the M6 in Cheshire and the M8 in Renfrewshire, Scotland.
British Airways said it was complying with a request from Heathrow chiefs to reduce its flying schedule at the west London airport.
BA was reducing its schedule by 20% up to 11am, by 10% between 11am and 4pm and by 5% between 4pm and 10.30pm.
BA said: “All of the agreed cancellations are for our European and domestic flights at Heathrow, and these have been published. All our long-haul flights into and out of London Heathrow are currently planned to operate as normal.
“We currently plan to operate all flights to and from London Gatwick and London City airports as normal.”
Virgin Trains advised passengers not to attempt to travel unless absolutely necessary on services on the southern end of the West Coast Main Line.
Southend Airport in Essex was able to announce the resumption of flights shortly before 9.30am, while the port of Dover in Kent reopened at 9.10am, although passengers were warned to expect delays to sailings.
Greater Anglia said it would not be running any trains until 12 noon.
Prime Minister David Cameron and other ministers were being kept regularly updated on the latest situation.
Yesterday Mr Cameron chaired a call with various Government departments and agencies on plans to ensure people were protected from the storm.
The Government said: “Think about whether is your journey is really necessary. If you have to travel, do not use motorbikes or bicycles as they are particularly vulnerable in high cross-winds.
“A storm of this severity has the potential to overturn high-sided vehicles and caravans. “