Storm Emma causes rush hour travel chaos
South Western Railway passengers have been warned there is no guarantee they will get home tonight (March 2) as Storm Emma causes havoc across the south.
But the Leader of Merton Council Councillor Stephen Alambritis has praised council staff for keeping services running during the current severe weather.
The council said despite the sub-zero temperatures and snowfall to have hit the borough this week, the vast majority of services have continued to operate.
However South Western Railway services will end far earlier than normal, and its information service will shut at 8pm.
In Merton, whilst some schools closed todayto ensure the safety of staff and pupils, day centres and a number of libraries have remained open, providing residents with much needed warmth and shelter from the cold weather and snow showers.
Nonetheless, highway officers and the Council’s waste management contractor Veolia have been working around the clock, making sure that Merton’s main roads and other essential services are able to function as normal. Street cleaning staff have been gritting footpaths outside schools, hospitals and major footways with the aim of keeping residents safe from the icy pavements. Gritting teams continue to be in operation and will be targeting key areas across the borough.
Meanwhile, Veolia have been working hard in the adverse weather conditions to collect residents’ waste. Due to the conditions, some roads have been inaccessible and residents are advised to leave their waste out, as teams attempt their utmost to reach all areas.
It said that all services were out on Friday morning with the exception of Bulky waste and Garden waste and one food waste crew. This is due to drivers being needed for the gritting operation. It added:
Merton Council’s Leader Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “I have seen first-hand how our contractors and council staff have been working tirelessly to keep our roads safe and our transport operations on the go, all doing their bit to keep Merton moving.
“We have experienced some of the worst weather in recent years, but the commitment demonstrated by our residents and staff to carry on as normal has filled me with immense pride as the leader of this borough.
“The safety of all our residents, including those who are vulnerable and elderly remains our number one priority and I am grateful to all the teams and council staff who are working to help local people during this unpredicatable weather.”
More information on how the severe weather is affecting the Council’s services, including information on gritting and school closures can be found on the Merton Council website.
AFC Wimbledon’s home match against Charlton tomorrow (March 3) was postponed earlier today because of the frozen Kingsmeadow pitch.
Earlier in the day, South Western Railway withdrew all train services on the Hounslow Loop and the line from Richmond into Waterloo due to weather conditions.
It warned that it would be finishing the day’s service earlier than normal, with the following last trains from Waterloo:
Portsmouth (via Guildford) - 18:00
Southampton - 18:05
Basingstoke and Alton - 19:23
Hampton Court - 21:06
Reading (via Richmond) - 21:20
Weybridge - 21:22
Woking - 21:25
Strawberry Hill (via Wimbledon) - 21:27
Windsor and Eton Riverside - 21:28
Guildford (via Cobham and Stoke D'Abernon) - 21:30
Strawberry Hill (via Twickenham) - 21:33
Guildford (via Epsom) - 21:39
Shepperton (via Wimbledon) - 21:42.
Its information service will shut at 8pm, and it warned there was no guarantee passengers would get to their destination in the evening.
We would be delighted to receive your photos of snow scenes and will publish as many as we can - the pictures below were taken during this afternoon's snow flurry. Please send any images through to email@example.com.
Old Rutlishians' Sports Ground in Merton Park, taken by Hazel Abbott
March 2, 2018