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Gales bring trees and power lines down and disrupt road and rail services

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Power cuts and trees down as Met Office issues warning as strong winds batter south east

WEST Berkshire is being battered by 50mph winds which have brought down power lines and trees across the district.

The winds have brought down trees near Aldermaston and Mortimer where train services between Great Bedwyn and Reading were halted this morning after a tree fell on the tracks.

Commuters were stuck on one stranded train at Aldermaston but one passenger told us that at 11.45am the line had been cleared.

Earlier, a train struck one of three trees that had come down on a railway line at Mortimer.

The First Great Western (FGW) service from Basingstoke to Reading hit the tree just after 06:30. There were no reports of any injuries.

The debris was cleared by Network Rail an hour later and services resumed.

Elsewhere, there are reports of power cuts in Hungerford, Bishops Green and Kintbury.

The surgery in Kintbury has been disrupted by a power failure as the area strains under the force of the gale force wind and rain.

The surgery in Newbury Street, Kintbury, has reported power problems due to the bad weather, and staff are currently working to keep the practice open.

Elsewhere, trees falling on power lines have been blamed for a power cut which affected approximately 1,200 customers in Bishops Green, Ashford Hill, Wolverton and Crookham Common.

Bishops Green villager, Sam Wood, of Eagle Road, said the entire road lost electric supplies completely at around 8.30am today with the power cut resulting in the closure of The Warren pre-school.

“I don't start work until 12pm, but it's inconvenient for everyone else,” said Mr Wood.

His neighbour, Pete McEwan, of Eagle Road, said power was restored at 11am, but the power cut had proved “very inconvenient” as he had a three month old baby, as did his neighbour:

“It has been difficult for the mothers as they have been struggling with heating bottles etc,” said Mr McEwan.

Southern Electric spokeswoman, Samantha O'Connor, said supplies were affected at 6.40 this morning.

“Our engineers were dispatched immediately and quickly identified extensive damage to our high voltage network, including trees that have landed on the overhead lines,” said Ms O'Connor.

“ We have successfully restored the majority of supplies and our engineers are working hard to carry out the repairs to restore the remaining 300 customers. We would like to thank all customers for their patience and reassure them that we are doing everything we can to restore supplies as quickly as possible.”

The A34 southbound is also closed between Didcot and Chilton because of an overturned lorry, so drivers heading in or out of West Berkshire along that road are advised they may experience delays.

The Met Office has warned that the strongest gusts are likely to hit Britain in the next few hours, with storm force winds possible in some areas before easing off this afternoon.

Outbreaks of rain are likely this morning, turning heavy at times before clearing in the afternoon.

The high winds are predicted to ease slightly by this evening, but will still have an impact tomorrow.

If you know of any destruction caused by the winds, or road traffic incidents, please contact our newsdesk on (01635) 564539 or email newsdesk@newburynews.co.uk

And check Newburytoday.co.uk and our Twitter account @NewburyToday for more as it happens through the day.

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