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Major disruption for UK rail users as Storm Ciara approaches | UK news

Travel chaos and event cancellations are expected as Storm Ciara pummels the UK with winds of up to 80mph.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for heavy rain across the UK on Sunday, with additional amber warning in place in south-east England and Wales signalling very strong winds.

Gusts of 63mph were recorded in South Uist, Tiree and Stornoway in Scotland on Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, dozens of rail companies said they would operate a reduced service on Sunday with speed restrictions in place and Network Rail has restricted trains to 50mph across the majority of its lines.

Grand Central has cancelled all its services between London, Bradford and Sunderland on Sunday.

LNER, Avanti West Coast and South Western Railway are among the train companies that said customers with tickets for Sunday would also be able to use them on some services on Saturday or Monday. The public is being advised to check National Rail for updates before travelling this weekend.

The Met Office’s chief meteorologist, Frank Saunders, said: “Winds will increase through Saturday across Northern Ireland, Scotland, northern England and Wales, before turning very windy across the rest of UK through the early hours of Sunday morning.

“Gusts of 50 to 60mph are expected quite widely across inland areas, with even stronger gusts of 80mph or higher along coastal areas.”

The London Winter Run 10k event, due to be attended by 25,000 runners, was cancelled after organisers said they were “not able to guarantee the safety of our runners, crew and volunteers”.

London’s eight Royal parks, including Hyde park and Regent’s park, will close on Sunday.

The opening ceremony to celebrate Galway’s year as European Capital of Culture has been cancelled because of bad weather buffeting Ireland’s west coast. The event had been due to feature a fire-lighting spectacle and draw a crowd of thousands.

The Galway ceremony organisers said: “We have been in constant contact with the relevant authorities since the weather warnings were put in place earlier this week and, in the interests of the safety of the public, the weather warnings currently in place mean that it has been deemed unsafe to go ahead.

“We are saddened for the community cast, our volunteers and the whole team who have worked so hard during the last weeks and months.

“Today’s event would have marked the finale of what has been a hugely successful week-long series of events on the fire tour of lighting ceremonies that have lit up towns across the county.”

Saturday evening’s ceremony was designed to be the culmination of smaller events around Galway next week. Forecaster Met √Čireann issued an orange wind warning for the region as Storm Ciara is expected to bring gusts of up to 75mph.

In Scotland, several bridges were closed to high-sided vehicles on Saturday with the Erskine, Dornoch, Skye and Kessock bridges among those affected, while a 40mph limit was put in place on the Queensferry Crossing.

Ferry passengers also faced disruption with many Caledonian MacBrayne services cancelled because of the winds.

In Ayrshire, police urged people to pay attention to the weather and said local officers will be on patrol throughout the weekend to assist, while police in Tayside urged people to “take care and plan travel appropriately”.

Drivers have been warned to take extra care on the roads because of potentially difficult conditions caused by heavy rain, particularly on coastal or exposed routes.

Guy Addington, regional water safety lead at the RNLI, said: “This rough weather could making visiting our coasts around the UK and Ireland treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.”

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