TRAINS in Hampshire will return to normal schedules tonight after major disruptions caused by severe weather.

South West Trains has lifted speed restrictions on routes in the region as high winds ease.

The operator was forced to impose 50mph limits from 10am as 60mph winds and heavy rain uprooted trees and caused havoc.

It expects a normal service to run throughout the day tomorrow.

Rain is forecast to continue through the evening while the Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for tomorrow.

Flood alerts are in place on major rivers and coastal areas with parts of Winchester city centre close to the River Itchen are at risk of flooding.

A major storm is also forecast to hit the county on Friday where torrential rain gales of up 100 mph could lash the south coast.

Test trains will run on routes tonight to ensure tracks are clear for early services and ensure fallen trees and other obstacles are cleared from the lines.

A spokesperson for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance said: “We are planning a normal service tomorrow, based on the forecast which predicts easing weather conditions.

"Over the last 24 hours we have had additional staff working across the network to ensure that tracks were cleared as quickly as possible with minimum disruption to planned services. We're sorry for any inconvenience caused by the weather and thank passengers for their patience.

"We will continue to closely monitor the Met weather forecast and will run testing trains throughout the evening to ensure tracks are clear for our morning services.

Following the landslip near Botley earlier in the week, London Waterloo to Portsmouth via Eastleigh services will continue to be diverted and will not call at Botley or Hedge End in either direction. For full details of affected services, please check the website.

For further updates see or follow @SW_Trains on Twitter.

The Environment Agency had issued three flood warnings for the county and a number of less severe alerts.

The warnings – which mean ‘be prepared’ – are for Winchester, Stowford to Bishopstoke on the River Itchen and Wickham to Titchfield on the River Meon.

There are alerts on the Lower Itchen, Middle Itchen, Upper Itchen, Hursley and on the Lower Test from Romsey to Totton.