Greater Anglia has issued a warning to commuters ahead of snow and adverse weather in Cambridgeshire next week.
A Met Office weather warning has been issued for the county between Monday (February 26) and Wednesday (February 28).
Forecasters have also upgraded a yellow 'be aware' weather warning for snow in the East of England on Tuesday to amber, meaning conditions are likely to be more severe than first thought.
The snow and icy conditions could cause chaos for roads and transport services, which has led Greater Anglia to draw up contingency plans for the forecast of extreme weather.
As it stands, a reduced service will operate between, Ipswich, Colchester and London Liverpool Street due to slower speed restrictions.
Services on Monday will end at 10pm to enable trains to return to depots and stations before the forecast snow storms start, so services will start to be reduced from 8pm.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, should the weather remain as bad as expected, the reduced service will operate between 6am and 10pm.
Network Rail and Greater Anglia has said it is 'liaising' with weather forecasters Met Desk, which predicts that 30cm of snow could fall.
The freezing temperatures also mean that the snow will not melt, causing major problems for rail services.
It has said it will work to keep the main routes operating – Norwich to London, Southend to London, Norwich to Cambridge and Cambridge/Stansted to London.
However, there will be no services on rural routes: Norwich to Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and Sheringham, and Ipswich to Felixstowe and Lowestoft. There will be no rail replacement bus service on these routes either.
“The last time such heavy snow fell in this region was over 25 years ago"
Richard Dean, Greater Anglia train service delivery director, said: “We apologise for the inconvenience that this reduced service causes customers.
“The last time such heavy snow fell in this region was over 25 years ago. In extreme conditions such as these, we work hard with Network Rail to keep key routes open, using snow ploughs, points heaters and mobilising all staff to clear snow off platforms and heat up and de-ice trains.
“Volume of traffic on some routes keeps snow from settling too deep, like on roads, but not on rural routes.
You will be allowed to travel on Monday 26th February with a ticket for Tuesday 27th or Wednesday 28th, and will be allowed to travel with tickets for those days when services resume to normal following the bad weather. GA
— Greater Anglia (@greateranglia) February 25, 2018
"We are committed to keeping our customers safe in all conditions and the last thing anyone wants is for customers to be stranded on a cold train in the middle of a blizzard in rural Suffolk or Norfolk.
“If the forecasts prove wrong, we will of course, do everything possible to get services up and running as soon as possible.”
Keeping a close eye on the forecast
A Network Rail spokesperson said: "We will be keeping a close eye on the forecast over the next few days and have plans in place should the extreme weather materialise.
"We will have extra staff working around the clock in order to keep main lines as clear as possible but while we will do everything we can to keep people moving, some lines may be closed and services will be subject to delays and cancellations, especially in the areas worst hit.
"We apologise for the inconvenience this will cause but the safety of our passengers and staff remains our number one priority."
In order to help ease the snowy conditions, some empty trains will run throughout the night to keep lines clear of snow and all Greater Anglia staff have been asked to go to their local stations to help clear snow off the platforms.
These are the plans for each route:
No service : Norwich to Sheringham, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft; Ipswich to Felixstowe and Lowestoft; Colchester to Colchester Town; Stratford to Tottenham Hale
Shuttle service only : Braintree to Witham; Harwich to Manningtree; Thorpe-le-Soken to Walton-on-the-Naze and Clacton; Hertford East to Broxbourne; Colchester to Clacton; Southminster to Wickford; Marks Tey to Sudbury;
Running but less frequent/slower service : Norwich to London, Norwich to Cambridge, Ipswich to Cambridge, Ipswich to Peterborough, Ipswich and Colchester to London, Southend to London, Cambridge to London, Stansted Airport to London, will run a reduced service from 06.00 to 22.00 on Tuesday and Wednesday, with all services finishing by 22.00 on Monday.
A version of this story also appeared on Essex Live.
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