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Transport sector ‘geared up’ for winter weather, says DfT

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Transport operators have robust plans in place to keep the transport network going in the event of bad weather, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).

It said it has been working closely with the transport sector to "keep the national transport network moving this winter".

If the winter develops as predicted, there is likely to be some disruption to road, rail and, potentially, air travel and businesses are being advised to think about what that might mean for travel plans.

All key transport operators, including airports, local authorities, train operating companies, Highways England and Network Rail, have winter contingency plans in place.

To keep the roads moving, a total of 1.7 million tonnes of salt is held in England. This includes an emergency salt reserve that is held at key locations around the country. More than 400 gritters are on standby across the country to start spreading salt when temperatures are forecast to dip below freezing. At full capacity, Highways England gritter drivers are able to spread salt on every metre of motorway every three hours.

Network Rail will be patrolling the tracks day and night clearing snow and ice from junctions and tunnels to keep railways across Britain running. In addition, they have six snow and ice treatment trains (SITTs) fitted with snowploughs, hot air blowers, steam jets, brushes, scrapers and jets for heated anti-freeze and compressed air to quickly de-ice tracks.

Passengers who are due to fly are advised to check with their carrier before leaving for the airport. When flight delays and cancellations do occur, the Civil Aviation Authority, airports and airlines work together to ensure that affected passengers are provided with up-to-date information on delays, and offer rebooking for cancelled flights.

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