UK weather and transport latest: Commuters battle delays with more chaos to come amid heavy snow

Commuters were left facing delays and disruption during their journeys home after the UK was hit by a freezing blast nicknamed “The Beast from the East”.

The vortex of cold air will plunge parts of the UK into minus temperatures this week, with more than 20cm of snow expected to fall after 9pm.

And forecasters have warned that another weather system, Storm Emma, will bring blizzards, gales and sleet expected to hit the country on Thursday.

Passengers were warned to travel home before 6pm in order to avoid the most of the disruption expected to descend on the rail and road network.

Snow forecast this week | When and where will snow hit, and more about the weather warnings in force

Rail firm Southeastern had said: “We recommend that where you can, you should complete your evening journey before 6pm to avoid possible disruption.” 

The company warned that it would be cancelling services but passengers still reacted with fury at the level of disruption.

And to add to customers’ woes, the Southeastern site went down due to increased demand meaning that it was hard for passengers to access the latest information on their journeys.

The London Overground announced it would be stopping services early, with most expected to terminate between 10.30pm and 11.30pm.

And TfL rail will be suspended from 11pm, with a limited service will running from 7am on Tuesday.

Commuters boldly make their way to work during the snow this morning (Jeremy Selwyn)

Passengers on the Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Southern routes are advised to complete journeys by Monday evening to avoid anticipated delays and cancellations. 

Southern said it would be running an hourly service on Tuesday, between London Bridge and Uckfield.

Stansted Express trains  will not run after 10.25pm on Monday and Great Northern services from Kings Cross will finish at 10.05pm, with a “heavily reduced timetable” expected on Tuesday.

Commuters attempting to travel home on the Central line in advance of the bad weather faced further misery after an earlier signal failure at Bethnal Green.

Service was part suspended between Liverpool Street and Leytonstone from around 3pm for two hours, causing severe delays on the rest of the line.

Central line: The service was halted by a signal failure (Augustin Grigorov)

And disruption continued into rush hour on the entire line, with passengers urged to “change where necessary” to complete their route.

Transport for London tweeted: “Severe delays: on the entire line. This is due to an earlier signal failure at Bethnal Green. Please take the first train to arrive and change where necessary to complete your journey.”

Overcrowding: Frustrated commuters waited to board a train (Ismail Patel)

TfL did not say how long the disruption is expected to last.

Passengers took to social media to vent their frustration as delays caused overcrowding and some stations, including Bond Street, were forced to close.

What should you do if your flight is delayed or cancelled-

Kent County Council Highways declared a snow emergency due to the severe weather conditions and urged people to only contact them if necessary.

“All of our resources will be focused on keeping the highways salted, clear and safe,” a spokeswoman said. “We will be treating all primary routes throughout each day but we do not clear footpaths or side roads.

“Salt bins are provided at key locations for you to use to clear the roads where it is safe to do so. 

“We would ask that you only call us in an emergency and report non-urgent issues on our reporting tool. Please be aware that it may take us longer than usual to deal with non-emergency issues”.

Network Rail said: “We will have extra staff working around the clock in order to keep main lines as clear as possible but while we will do everything we can to keep people moving, some lines may be closed and services will be subject to delays and cancellations.”

The Met Office has issued yellow “be aware” warnings for snow for today, tomorrow and Wednesday. Temperatures were forecast to feel as cold as -9C on Thursday.

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