First winter snowstorm shuts airports and causes rail havoc

Marion Dakers
THE FIRST big snowstorm of the winter forced Stansted Airport to close for around two hours this morning and caused disruption on train routes into London.

Stansted re-opened its runway shortly after 8am, having cleared two inches of snow, but the closure caused around 40 cancellations and delays for frustrated passengers for the rest of the day.

Ryanair, Stansted’s biggest airline, said some of its morning flights had been cancelled and that customers were eligible to transfer to a later journey free of charge.

Queues built up at the check-in-desks during the morning, but most passengers had found their way onto new flights by yesterday afternoon, a Stansted spokesman said.

Luton Airport was also experiencing a backlog yesterday, after its runway was closed for an hour.

Commuters also suffered delays throughout the day on some Southeastern and South West Trains routes, including a reduced service to and from Waterloo.

Dozens of schools in Essex were closed.

Motorists also had trouble navigating the snow-covered roads, with the AA posting 29 traffic alerts across the UK yesterday.

The Met Office has forecast rain for Greater London today, and has issued an amber warning over possible icy conditions.

Temperatures were expected to plummet overnight to as low as -8 degrees celsius in parts of Scotland.