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Travel chaos as snow falls across the regions.

SNOW brought travel chaos across the country.

Roads were shut, trains cancelled or delayed and flights disrupted.

As the snow hit London and south east England, one of Heathrow's two runways had to be closed for de-icing and snow clearance.

Driven by strong winds, the snow settled quickly and travellers who had had trouble getting on to reducedservice trains in the morning were wondering how they were going to get home tonight.

As the snow spread, so did the travel chaos. Earlier, Wales, the West Country, eastern England, the North East of England and Scotland had been the worst-hit areas.

But soon the whole country was in winter's grip, with flights cancelled at Heathrow airport and snow reaching London.

At least 70 flights were cancelled at Heathrow. British Airways said it had axed 60 flights. Airports where flights were cancelled included Southampton, Bristol, Glasgow, Jersey and Newcastle.

Some train companies had operated special timetables even before the snow arrived, prompting some passengers to complain of overcrowding.

Channel Tunnel rail firm Eurostar axed four services between London and Brussels, and there were amended services on a number of domestic routes.

Wales bore the brunt of the early-morning disruption. The M4 was closed between junction 36 at Bridgend and junction 37 at Pyle due to snow.

There were hazardous driving conditions on sections of the M4 in South Wales and on the M48 near Chepstow while the snow caused traffic tailbacks in Cardiff and Newport. Among towns where roads had to close were Rhondda and Treorchy.

In Devon a section of the A35 was closed in Honiton while snow also caused a section of the same road to shut in Dorchester in Dorset.

A section of the North Devon Link Road in Rackenford was closed because of snow and a jack-knifed lorry.

On the A30 at Okehampton in Devon one lane was closed due to an accident and snow while hazardous road conditions were reported in the Bristol area.

In northern England there were hazardous driving conditions on the A1 around Alnwick because of ice and snow.

In Scotland, a section of the A821 in Stirling was closed due to snow.

The M50 was closed between Ross-on-Wye and Newent while the M4 near Cardiff was partially blocked between junctions 30 and 32.

Trains between Bridgend and Cardiff Central were being delayed while there were no services for a time between Radyr and Coryton in South Wales, nor between Liskeard in Cornwall and Plymouth in Devon, nor between Severn Beach and Avonmouth near Bristol.

Both Green Flag and the AA reported a lower-than-normal number of morning breakdowns, with many people staying at home.

But as the snow spread the number of calls for assistance increased.

By 2pm, the AA said it had dealt with about 6,800 breakdowns - or around 900 an hour. The busiest areas were the south coast, south west England, the Midlands and London. Darron Burness, the AA's head of special operations, said: "There's been a big impact on the roads as the snow fell so heavily with traffic crawling on many routes and we've had reports of journeys taking three or four times longer than usual.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 19, 2013
Words:551
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