Caroline Spelman heads for North East as mop up begins

Posted by on Jun 30, 2012 | Comments Off on Caroline Spelman heads for North East as mop up begins

 

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman is to visit the North East of England as the region begins the clear up after a second day of torrential rain.

Almost 2,500 homes in the region are still without electricity.

And rail operators are warning of continued disruption on both the West and East Coast Mainline services as engineers work to repair damage.

BBC Weather forecasters say there may be more showers but “nothing like on the scale of earlier in the week”.

In a statement, Northern Power-grid said the areas worst affected by the loss of power to homes were Con-sett, Stanhope and Alnwick.

It said it had “cancelled all planned engineering work and staff have been redeployed to ensure that supplies to customers still without power will be restored as soon as possible”.

Meanwhile, hundreds of engineers will be working through the weekend to repair areas of the track beds which were torn away by floods at Haltwhistle on the Newcastle to Carlisle route and Scremerston on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) between Newcastle and Berwick.

A near-normal service is expected to operate between London and Leeds, and London and Newcastle.

The West Coast mainline between Scotland and England, which was closed for a time in both directions on Friday because of damage to overhead power lines between Lockerbie and Carstairs, is moving again – but delays are still expected and engineers say further repairs will have to be carried out during the night.

First Transparent Express and Virgin Trains are running their scheduled West Coast services, but long queues have been reported at Glasgow Central Station.

A BBC Weather forecaster said Saturday would be a “breezy day with sunny intervals and showery spells, with a risk of thunder in places”.

She said Tyneside might have more showers but “nothing like they had two days ago”.

She said the South East of England would be mostly dry.

A number of schools in the North East closed due to flooding on Friday, including Langley First School near Whitley Bay where the water inside the school building was at one point two feet deep.

One of the teachers, James Mitchinson, said the local community helped in saving books and other resources.

He said: “We kind of sent out texts and left messages on social networking sites.

“Within about half an hour our distress call was heard, and about 15 volunteers were there, you know – some with their children, some just by themselves, some people just walked off the street, which was really humbling, you know, and it’s kind of times like this that you see the good in people, and without their help undoubtedly a lot of the resources and

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