COMMUTERS can expect severe delays this morning as torrential rain and high winds cause havoc on the south’s rail network.
South West Trains is poised to impose speed restrictions on major services running through Hampshire as more heavy rain and strong winds hit the region today after last night’s deluge.
The Met Office issuing a severe weather warning and forecasting gusts of up to 60mph in coastal areas, with the downpours falling on already saturated ground.
The transport operator is set to enforce a 50mph speed limit between 10am and 7pm on some routes likely to be the worst affected.
These are services from Winchester to Weymouth via Southampton, Bournemouth and Poole, from Southampton to Portsmouth via Swanick service and from Southampton to Salisbury via Romsey.
Meanwhile trains between London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour via Eastleigh services will also be cancelled in both directions.
They were already diverting via Swanwick due to a landslip at Botley.
Replacement buses will operate between Fareham and Southampton Airport Parkway will remain in operation.
Trains will be running between Portsmouth and Southampton via Swanwick.
Extra staff will be on duty at stations while tree removal teams are on standby to clear any fallen trees.
Test trains were also ran overnight to check for and clear obstructions on the line.
A spokesman for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance said: “The continued heavy rain and flooding in the south west has put increased pressure on our rail network. The recent forecasts, which have come on top of the wettest January for a century, present an increased risk of further flooding, landslips and falling trees.
“Our experiences show that the best way to deal with the extreme weather and to avoid more serious disruption is to put an amended train service in place. The service changes will only impact the parts of our network that have been worse hit by the stormy weather since December. By running a reduced service we are minimising the risk of further damage being caused as well as lessening the potential for future disruption to our customers’ journeys.
Last night the Environment Agency had issued five flood warnings for the county and a number of less severe alerts.
The warnings – which mean ‘be prepared’ – were for the Hamble Estuary, Beaulieu, Winchester, Cowes and from Wickham to Titchfield on the River Meon.
There were alerts on the Lower Itchen, Middle Itchen, Upper Itchen, Southampton Water, Isle of Wight Coast and from Fareham to Portchester, Milford on Sea to Lymington and Hillhead to Gosport.
See southwesttrains.co.uk or follow @SW_Trains on Twitter for further updates.