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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 19:54 GMT
Hundreds lose power as storms hit
Winds batter Cumbria
Storms have caused power cuts and severe travel disruption
Hundreds of homes in the North of England have lost power after heavy rain and winds reaching more than 70mph brought down power lines.

Power firm CE Electric said more than 1,000 homes have been affected - around 600 on Teesside, 200 on Wearside and at least 200 on Tyneside.

United Utilities said hundreds in the west and south of Cumbria were also without power on Thursday.

Meanwhile, rail services on the East Coast Mainline have also been reduced.

Mike Leighton, Operations Director for CE Electric UK, said: "The safety of our staff is paramount and there will be times during the gales when it is just too dangerous for them to continue working.

"But we want to reassure customers that our priority is to restore supplies as quickly as possible.

"We will continue working through the night."

Debris on tracks

A spokesman for United Utilities said supplies in Cumbria may not be reconnected until Friday because the bad weather meant it was too dangerous for engineers to repair damaged lines.

Train operator GNER is only running an hourly service between London and Newcastle on Thursday evening.

The restrictions have been introduced as a result of a 50mph speed limit imposed by Network Rail between Kings Cross and Newcastle.

GNER said the reduced speed limit would give train drivers more warning of any debris blown onto tracks.

Spokesman John Gelson said: "Travellers are advised to check train times with National Rail Enquiries before travelling.

"In light of the disruption, any tickets bought today but not used will still be valid on Friday. This includes tickets that were restricted to specific journeys."

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