10 October 2023

New weather alert for rain in place but minister ‘hopeful’ rail network can cope

10 October 2023

Scotland’s Transport Secretary has said she is “hopeful” the rail network can withstand more rain as another weather warning was issued.

The country was battered by heavy rainfall over the weekend, causing flooding and leading to train cancellations and road closures.

Pictures on social media showed some train stations flooded, with tracks under feet of water.

Another yellow weather warning has been put in place by the Met Office for rain on Tuesday, with 15mm-25mm (0.6in-1in) forecast quite widely, with peak totals of 40mm-50mm (1.6in-2in) possible over high ground.

Speaking to the PA news agency from the Network Rail control room in Glasgow, Mairi McAllan said the forecast rain would not normally result in a yellow warning, but the recent weather has led to caution from the Met Office.

Asked if she is confident the rain will not overwhelm the rail network, Ms McAllan said: “I’m hopeful that it won’t.

“The advice from the Met Office is that the rain that’s expected today wouldn’t normally constitute a yellow weather warning.

“But it has been issued on account of the deluge over the weekend and the fact that the ground is already saturated.”

The guidance, she said, is there to “warn people to heed warnings” to be wary of further flooding.

The weather warning covers western Scotland between 6am and 9pm on Tuesday.

The Met Office said: “Following disruptive rainfall across much of Scotland in recent days, a further period of fairly heavy rainfall is likely to affect many western parts of Scotland during Tuesday, though nothing like the amount seen on Saturday, before the rain begins to clear away southwards during Tuesday afternoon and evening.

“Across many western areas, 15mm-25mm of rain could fall quite widely, with peak totals of 40mm-50mm possible over and around the high ground.

“This may bring further impacts from flooding, including the disruption of travel, given the recent wet conditions.”

Ms McAllan also praised the work of Network Rail during what she described as an “exceptional event”.

She said: “I think they responded very well. I think that is seen in how quickly the network recovered.”

Despite a raft of cancellations as a result of the flooding, just one part of the network between Dunblane and Perth remains closed, with hopes of it reopening on Wednesday.

Two severe flood warnings issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency remain in force on Tuesday for Aviemore/Dalfaber and for part of Perth, while there are 33 flood warnings and 10 flood alerts in place.

Meanwhile, the search for a 77-year-old man reported missing in a river continues, after specialist resources including a police helicopter and drones were used to look for him on Monday.

A search operation was launched at about 5pm on Sunday after police received a report of concern for a man seen in the River Tay, near Strathtay.

Ten motorists were airlifted to safety on Saturday due to landslides on the A83 in Argyll and Bute, which dislodged 2,000 tonnes of debris. Another four were airlifted in Kilmartin, Argyll and Bute.

The A83 between the Rest And Be Thankful and Inveraray has closed for work to remove debris from landslips.

Six further landslips were identified as a result of the work, Bear Scotland said.

The road maintenance firm said it had removed 9,500 tonnes of debris from the A83 so far, with a further 2,000 tonnes on the hillside likely to need removing before the road can safely open.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox