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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 23:20 GMT
Severe weather disrupts SW travel
Stranded train
The Virgin Train broke down near Dawlish at 1730 GMT
Heavy rain and storm force winds have disrupted rail and road travel in the south-west of England.

Some 160 passengers on Virgin Trains' Glasgow to Penzance service were stranded for three hours after waves damaged the track near Dawlish, Devon,

In Dorset, a motorist was winched to safety after floodwaters trapped her car, and Hampshire police are warning against all but essential travel.

However, BBC Weather said the worst was over, with winds and rain easing.

Hampshire police said the bad weather had brought trees and a telegraph pole down, and there had been some road flooding.

It was dangerous because the waves were coming up one side, catching one side, and it was frightening
Marion Roue
Train passenger

On Friday night they warned motorists not to travel unless absolutely necessary, and to take extreme care if they did.

The Environment Agency has 15 flood warnings in place across the UK, and 66 flood watches.

But a BBC weather spokesman said the weather outlook had improved.

"The worst of the winds have now gone - we're not expecting any damaging winds. It's going to be a blustery day.

"Expect some heavy showers and rain - there are a number of rivers on flood warnings - but we're not expecting any more prolonged heavy rain.

"The only place predicting heavy rain over the next 24 hours is eastern Scotland.

"The worst is over."

Stranded train

Virgin's Glasgow to Penzance service came to a halt at about 1730 GMT after huge waves caused damage to tracks near Dawlish in Devon.

The train was towed into Dawlish station at about 2110 GMT.

A Virgin spokesman said Network Rail had told the company the track had been damaged by debris in both directions.

He said the train involved had stopped at red lights on the sea wall at Dawlish when it was hit by a huge wave and water got into the electrics.

The train was towed to Dawlish station, where passengers were transferred to a Great Western service to continue their journey.

Passenger Marion Roue had travelled from Liverpool and was only a few miles from her destination of Newton Abbot when the train broke down.

She said: "It was dangerous because the waves were coming up one side, catching one side, and it was frightening."

Coastguard rescue

The Torquay seafront was also closed on Friday night as the high tide pushed waves over the sea wall.

High winds throughout the day also brought down some 70 trees across Devon.

In Dorset, the coastguard had to rescue a woman trapped in her car by floodwaters, after the river Stour burst its banks near Sturminster Newton.

Dorset Fire Brigade said when they arrived at the scene the water was above the bonnet of the woman's vehicle, and had risen six inches in 15 minutes.

A Coastguard helicopter was used to winch the woman from her car to higher ground at around 1800 GMT.

A Portland coastguard spokesman said: "An ambulance was waiting, and she was checked over, and was OK."



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