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SCOTLAND SWAMPED; Thousands stranded by floods.

TORRENTIAL rain again brought chaos to much of Scotland last night as thousands were hit by floods.

Road and rail links were closed, homes and businesses were destroyed and emergency services were stretched to the limit.

And the misery looks set to continue today, with even more rain forecast over a wider area.

The west of Scotland was worst hit yesterday, with Largs in Ayrshire completely cut off.

A landslide blocked the railway line at nearby Fairlie and with roads affected by flooding, an emergency centre had to be opened in the town for stranded visitors. Dozens of people took refuge there.

In Dalry, Ayrshire, firefighters had to rescue 16 workers trapped in a factory after it was surrounded by fast-flowing water.

Police had to call out Clyde Coastguard to help with rising flood water in Ardrossan. Residents in the town's Shellbridge area were facing possible evacuation last night after a burn burst its banks.

In Lochwinnoch, Renfrew-shire, three people were taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia after their car was trapped by floods and they had to be rescued by fire- fighters.

Strathclyde Fire Brigade struggled to cope with nearly 100 calls and even had to pump out their own control room in Johnstone, Renfrewshire.

Part of Clydebank was sealed off as fire-fighters battled to save the town's library from water and sewage. On Arran, Lamlash fire station was at one point under 3ft of water. Strathclyde Fire Brigade said water had seeped into houses in Knightswood, Clydebank, Linwood, Kilbarchan, Brookfield, Bearsden, and Kirkintilloch.

Margaret Shaw, 56, of Glenburn, Paisley, said: "It's like a moat outside with water round the house. It has started coming through the floorboards."

Rail services were badly hit, with delays between Glasgow and Edinburgh caused by flooding at Croy and in Falkirk High tunnel.

At one point, Queen Street Station in Glasgow was at a standstill because of flooding on lines into the station.

Trains between Glasgow and Ayr only got as far as Johnstone after the Glengarnock viaduct was closed by rising water.

Passenger Fiona Wilson, 29, of Ayr, said: "There were hundreds of people on the platform at Johnstone and some had been there since 3pm.

"With every new train from Glasgow arriving there were loads more people and they eventually had to put us out in the street because there were just so many."

There was a foot of water on the line at Maryhill, which affected services to the Highlands.

A ScotRail spokesman said: "People are going to suffer no matter what we do.

"Passengers should not travel unless it is absolutely necessary."

Last night, the Met Office issued a flash flood warning for Central Scotland.

Two more inches of rain were due to fall overnight.

Motorists were also warned to expect more chaos on the roads this morning.

Forecaster Douglas Yule, of Impact Weather Services, said: "The situation will deteriorate.

"There will be more severe flooding and driving conditions will be difficult."
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Author:Smith, Graeme
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 23, 1998
Previous Article:THOUSANDS STRANDED AS SCOTLAND IS SWAMPED; FLOOD CHAOS: Drivers and rail users hit by massive delays as the rain batters down.

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