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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 17:52 GMT
Strong winds cause travel chaos
Waves crashing against Admiralty Pier in Dover (picture supplied by Peter Kesby)
Gale force winds have caused waves to crash against coastlines
Storm force winds have caused major problems on roads, trains and ferries in the South East.

In Kent, Operation Stack is in place on the M20 due to cross-Channel ferry disruption, and industrial action in France affecting Eurotunnel services.

The Dartford bridge over the Thames was closed for a time with M25 traffic diverted through one of the tunnels.

Trees fell on railway lines near Chatham, Kent, while Southern Railway reported three incidents in Surrey.

The Met Office said there had been severe weather warnings in place, with gusts of more than 60mph forecast for the South East during Thursday.

Ferry crossings from the Port of Dover were suspended earlier in the day due to "very rough" gale force conditions at sea.

There is still disruption to sailings to Calais by P&O Ferries and SeaFrance, to Dunkirk by Norfolkline, and to Boulogne by SpeedFerries.

A fallen tree across a road in Meopham, Kent (picture supplied by Jamie Gray)
Fallen trees blocked roads like this one in Meopham, Kent

Ferries were also cancelled from Newhaven in East Sussex.

Passengers were advised to contact their operator for further information.

The ferry disruption and Eurotunnel problems caused a lorry backlog which led to Kent Police putting Operation Stack in place on the M20.

The motorway is currently closed coastbound between junctions eight and nine, and 11 and 12, to be used as a lorry park for freight traffic heading for Dover.

Non-freight and local traffic is being diverted from the motorway onto the A20, A249 and M2.

Elsewhere on the roads, the new crossing between Kent and the Isle of Sheppey was closed, but police said the Kingsferry bridge link remained open.

On the trains, Southern Railway reported three incidents of trees falling across its Surrey routes.

More than 80 passengers had to be walked alongside the tracks to Kenley station after a Caterham to London Bridge service struck a tree, damaging the driver's cab but causing no injuries.

A van in a ditch in New Romney, Kent
Winds caused this van to end up in a ditch in New Romney, Kent

Trees also fell onto lines at Ashstead and Coulsdon South during the day.

There were similar incidents in Kent, where Southeastern services were affected between Chatham and Sittingbourne.

A large tree fell on the southbound line near Newington, while a carriage was damaged by a train hitting a branch at Sole Street.

Fire crews were also busy dealing with weather-related incidents during Thursday.

The West Sussex service took a man to hospital with a suspected broken hip after a tree fell onto a van in West Hoathly.

In East Sussex, firefighters made a balcony safe in East Wittering after high winds left it hanging precariously.

Crews in Kent were called to a woman trapped in her car by a falling tree in Seal Hollow Road, Sevenoaks, but she had been freed by the time they arrived.


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