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Tuesday, 27 February, 2001, 17:28 GMT
Passengers stranded in snow chaos
A train stuck in snow earlier this month
Trains have already been stuck in snow during February
More than 70 rail passengers are facing a night in Carlisle after their cross-border sleeper train became stranded at Lockerbie.

The service, which left London on Monday night, became stuck behind a broken down freight train and was eventually towed back to Carlisle.

ScotRail said the weather conditions meant that it was unlikely that the service would be able to continue north.

The M74 motorway, one of the main routes between Scotland and England, is blocked by snow meaning the passengers could be forced to stay overnight in Carlisle.

A train stuck in snow earlier this month
Weather forecasters say things will only improve slowly
Meanwhile, 120 people who were stranded on the snowbound 0632GMT service from Kilmarnock to Glasgow, were expected to arrive at their destination at 1400 GMT.

ScotRail said the cross-border sleeper service from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh got stuck behind a broken down freight train north of Lockerbie at 0600GMT.

A spokesman said the conditions meant it was unlikely either the broken down train or the passenger service could be towed north.

He explained that instead the passengers put up in a hotel in Carlisle.

With snow blocking the M74 motorway the passengers faced the prospect of being stranded in Carlisle overnight.

He said: "We will try to arrange, if we can't get the passengers north, to take them south to Carlisle, where we will have hotel accommodation ready for them.

Sleepers cancelled

"Unfortunately the line from Carlisle north via Dumfries is also blocked by snow, so that will prevent us using that route.

"We won't be running any sleepers from Glasgow and Edinburgh to London tonight."

A snow plough was called out after the Kilmarnock to Glasgow train got stuck in drifting snow at Stewarton.

The early-morning service - with 120 people on board - was just one of a number of services across Scotland which were hit by the severe weather.

We've had reports that snow was up to the level of the platform in certain areas

Jim Rowe
Virgin Trains
The ScotRail spokesman said: "The snow is causing major problems and the high winds have made things even more difficult because of the drifting.

"We are doing everything we can for the affected passengers."

Snow and fallen trees caused problems on lines across the country.

The Inverness to Aberdeen line was badly affected, Perth to Inverness services were cancelled until midday and the West Highland line was closed between Crianlarich Forth William.

The shuttle service between Glasgow and Edinburgh was running, but with some delays.

Meanwhile, GNER was forced to cancel all services between Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh and the north east of England, Yorkshire and London's King's Cross after the wind and snow brought down overhead lines in the Borders.

Virgin cancelled all train services to and from Scotland because of the snow.

Spokesman Jim Rowe said: "We've had reports that snow was up to the level of the platform in certain areas.

"We're not putting on alternative transport because the road conditions are really bad as well."

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See also:

27 Feb 01 | Scotland
Snow-hit Scotland grinds to a halt
27 Feb 01 | Scotland
Motorists driven mad by the snow
27 Feb 01 | UK
UK braced for freeze
27 Feb 01 | Scotland
Snow problems: Scotland in pictures
26 Feb 01 | Scotland
Cold snaps at Scotland yet again
07 Feb 01 | Scotland
'Slow' rescue mission criticised
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