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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 January, 2004, 21:10 GMT
Winter snap causes travel chaos
Manchester Airport
Flights have been cancelled at airports around the UK
Icy conditions and snow have disrupted air, rail and road transport around the UK as the winter cold snap continues.

British Airways cancelled 44 flights on Wednesday evening because of snow, while Easyjet scrapped more than 50.

The RAC said it was taking a call every three seconds from motorists, and the Highways Agency warned people to drive only when absolutely necessary.

One 70-year-old man died when his Range Rover left a snow-covered private road and turned over in the grounds of Ravensthorpe Manor near Thirsk, in North Yorkshire.

And earlier in the day, a 30-year-old man was seriously injured in an accident on an icy M18 near Doncaster, when his car collided with a road sign and overturned.

Motorists facing disruption

Almost the entire country saw snow on Wednesday.

In Scotland, an estimated 70,000 children missed classes as severe weather led to the closure of more than 300 schools.

Areas of the north-east Lincolnshire also saw school closures amid five inches of snow, and north Yorkshire saw eight.

Several schools were also closed in Wales.

There were long delays on five motorways, including the M1 and M25, because of broken-down vehicles and slippery road conditions.

Snowman

Scores of motorists were caught in an estimated 10 mile tailback on the southbound M11 between Cambridge and Stansted, Essex earlier on Wednesday evening, after an accident.

Last year, hundreds of drivers were trapped overnight on the same stretch of road, after the Highways Agency failed to grit it properly.

This year, the agency said no major routes in England had had to be closed because of the weather.

But it warned drivers throughout the country not to make any journeys unless "absolutely necessary".

Spokesman John Murphy said: "We're advising drivers to check on conditions on their routes before making their journeys.

"We've continued to grit and salt all major routes and we want to remind drivers to take care and driver safely."

Three-hour delay

British Airways said it had cancelled 44 flights in total on Wednesday evening, 36 out of Heathrow and eight from Gatwick due to the weather.

Some were domestic flights, some European and some long-haul destinations.

It has also cancelled some of its early morning Thursday flights between Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen and London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Easyjet airline has cancelled all flights that were due to depart from Luton and Stansted Airports on Wednesday evening, but said flights were operating normally from elsewhere.

Generally, main line services ran normally, but the adverse weather was blamed for delays on some services in the south-east.

One South Eastern train from Ramsgate in Kent to London's Victoria station arrived about three hours late.

Walking through snow at Lerwick

And in the morning, some sections of the Metropolitan, Jubilee, Piccadilly and Central lines had no trains because of problems on the open air sections of the Tube system.

Services on the Metropolitan lines were still not back to normal by mid-afternoon.

Forecasters warned of another bitterly cold and frosty night on Wednesday night into Thursday morning, with temperatures warming up on Friday and at the weekend.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Robert Hall
"Police warn against unnecessary journeys"



SEE ALSO:
London covered in snow
28 Jan 04  |  London
Snow spells force closures
28 Jan 04  |  Wales
Coaches crash on black ice
27 Jan 04  |  Humber


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