Snow chaos causes widespread commuter delays and cancellations

Chaos ensued yesterday after heavy snowfall caused widespread delays and train cancellations for thousands of commuters on their way home from work.

Buses were left at the roadside and cars got stuck in the snow as icy conditions made it near impossible to drive. The South East was badly hit, as roads were brought to a standstill overnight.

Train operators were forced to cancel and delay many services, leaving thousands of people stranded. Network rail brought in extra staff to try to clear the tracks, while Southeastern warned it was operating no more than a Saturday service.

In the capital, tube trains were heavily disrupted, with some three-mile journeys taking up to 45 minutes owing to a backlog of trains that piled up in central zones.

With freezing temperatures forecast to continue, many commuters stayed at home today rather than face another delayed journey into work.

The Highways Agency urged motorists not to drive unless it was essential. A statement on the organisation’s website said: “During severe weather, road users are advised to consider whether their journey is essential, and if possible to delay setting out until the conditions improve.”

Meanwhile train operators announced they would run fewer trains. A statement on Southern railway’s website said: “We are doing all we can to minimise disruption but train journeys may take longer than usual and services are subject to alteration, cancellation and delays.”

Heavy snowfall in February this year produced similar chaotic scenes. Business groups urged companies to make sure staff were able to work from home.

Rebecca Clake, organisation and resourcing adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said at the time: “Companies that have put in place the technology and management practices to allow their people to work flexibly in normal times can reap the rewards, as thousands of people log on from their living rooms and bedrooms to keep the knowledge economy ticking over.”

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