Thousands of delegates trying to travel to Glasgow for the Cop26 climate summit by train have been left waiting inside London’s Euston station today after a fallen tree halted services.
Just before 2pm this afternoon, an announcement in the station revealed all train services had been suspended and the concourse was ‘exit only’ due to overcrowding.
Pictures on social media showed the concourse packed with stricken travellers, many of whom were hoping to travel north for the climate conference which began on Sunday.
Others reported being stuck on slow moving or stationary trains – some for more than three hours – while others were forced to book domestic flights to reach the summit.
Parts of the UK may have seen tornadoes today, the Met Office said, after strong winds and rain battered the country.
Gusts of over 80mph have been recorded with reports of wind damage which caused major delays to travel out of London.
The disruption at Euston came as a result of damage to overhead electrical wires between Rugby and Milton Keynes on the West Coast Main Line. Network Rail said its teams are on site near Long Buckby in Northamptonshire, where the damage occurred.
The company said it is working to remove the fallen tree before assessing the damage and beginning repairs. Travellers are advised not to go to Euston and instead check for regular updates.
Wind damage has been reported in multiple areas of the UK on Sunday with the Met Office unable to rule out whether any tornadoes have taken place.
Yellow warnings for wind and rain are in place over large parts of the west and elsewhere, and more are likely.
Meteorologist Tom Morgan said: ‘We’ve got a deep Atlantic area of low pressure that’s bringing a very heavy band of rain and squalling winds across the whole of the country, but particularly in the south of England,’ he said.
‘We’ve seen some very strong gusts of wind on the south coast… and a few reports of damage from the winds.
‘It’s not out of the question that there will have been some localised, brief funnel clouds or tornadoes.
‘In the last couple of days we have seen some reports and seen some photos of funnel clouds and water spouts, which are similar to tornadoes.’
He added that wind speeds of 87mph were recorded at an exposed location on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, and there were gusts of 60mph across Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex.
Train passengers trying to reach Glasgow for the Cop26 summit have said it is ‘ironic’ their journeys were disrupted by stormy weather felling a tree onto the railway.
David Johnson was left sitting on his train from London Euston to Glasgow for more than half an hour on Sunday morning before eventually being told to get off along with his fellow passengers.
Mr Johnson is attending Cop26 as chief executive of the Margaret Pyke Trust, a UK-based international NGO focused on removing barriers to family planning as part of climate adaptation efforts.
Needing to reach the conference, Mr Johnson decided to book a flight from Gatwick to Glasgow which, he said, ‘does, of course, seem ridiculous’.
‘The irony of the climate impacting the trains, meaning a flight to the climate change conference is the only way to get there today, is not lost on me,’ he said.
Climate change scientist Simon Lewis said he has been stuck on a train for more than three hours as a result of the weather disruption on his way to Cop26.
The 49-year-old professor, from University College London, was on the 11am service from London to Edinburgh but has been stuck since 11:45am as a result of trees felled by the wind.
‘We are moving a tiny bit every now and again, but have not made it to Peterborough yet, the first stop,’ he said.
‘This is inconvenient and a reminder that climate change drives extreme weather events and every countr
‘But a stopped train is nothing compared to the two million people displaced by flooding in Shanxi province in China, last month, and those facing famine today in Madagascar.’
The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for large parts of the country the south and north west of England and eastern Scotland.
The warnings mean that some flooding is likely and drivers have been warned to expect standing water on roads, meaning journey times could be impacted.
One resident in Amesbury, Wiltshire, thought they had witnessed a ‘hurricane’ hit the area after spotting bins flying and trees breaking due to the powerful winds.
Infectious disease ecologist Dr Emma Gillingham tweeted: ‘Did a hurricane just hit Amesbury, Wiltshire? Incredible wind suddenly from nowhere, trees breaking, wheelie bins flying and all calm again now.’
However, the Met Office said it believed the ‘hurricane’ was in fact a ‘squall’, the name for a ‘sudden, sharp increase in wind speed lasting minutes’.
Northamptonshire Police said they had received a high number of calls relating to the weather conditions and that trees had fallen on scores of roads in the county.
Reverend Richard Coles, vicar of Finedon, took to social media after a blustery close call.
He tweeted: ‘We were just praying for the COP26 conference in church when we were hit by what I can only describe as a tornado, which took out a number of trees including this pre Conquest yew.’