Travel services face disruption as weather warnings remain
3 March 2018, 06:22
Efforts are continuing to get services across Scotland up and running in the wake of the extreme weather which hit the country this week.
Yellow weather warnings for snow remain in place for much of the country on Saturday, spelling possible continued disruption to day-to-day life.
Gritting and snow clearing on the roads was set to continue over the weekend, while train firm ScotRail said it would operate as many services as it could on Saturday.
The central belt's main airports are open, although they are encouraging people to check the status of their flights before travelling to the airports.
Meanwhile, some health boards are continuing to prioritise emergency and urgent procedures, with routine cases postponed.
The developments come as the armed forces extended their efforts to help get essential medical staff to and from work amid travel disruption from "the Beast from the East".
Troops, backed by the emergency services and volunteers, were working in the NHS Fife and NHS Tayside regions from Friday evening onwards to transport vital staff to the hospitals where they work.
The Army had earlier been called in to take medics to and from Edinburgh's two biggest hospitals.
NHS 24 has appealed for help this weekend, asking anyone who can help their staff get to work to contact them via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "Emergency services across the country have given a superhuman effort over the past few days and I am particularly grateful to those selfless individuals across the country with 4x4 vehicles who have given up their time to get members of healthcare staff into work. They all deserve our deepest thanks.
"Health and social care staff have worked to ensure hospitals, surgeries and care homes keep operating throughout these difficult circumstances. The care they have delivered for patients has been nothing short of heroic."
ScotRail said it aims to have services such as Edinburgh to Glasgow and Inverness to Aberdeen running from early morning.
The operator said on its website: "Our railway network faces a lot of challenges as we work to get it back up and running. In some parts of the country there are high winds of up to 40mph, which is causing snow to drift back onto tracks in exposed areas. In many cases our snow ploughs clear a line, only for the snow to drift back as soon as the ploughs move on."
Edinburgh Airport is open for "business as usual" on Saturday.
A spokesman said: "We have had confirmation from our airlines that most intend to fly a full schedule, including British Airways, Jet2.com and FlyBe. However, due to weather disruption at other European airports, there have been some cancellations and may be more on Saturday morning."
Ryanair and easyJet confirmed early morning cancellations at the airport.
Glasgow Airport's website said: "While we are currently operational there are a large number of delays and cancellations. We continue to urge passengers to check the status of their flights with their airlines before travelling to the airport."
On the roads, Lothian Buses are operating a Sunday service on Saturday and First Greater Glasgow said its buses are in operation with routes continually being assessed.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf tweeted that there were "a few shunts and bumps" on the trunk road network on Friday due to the difficult conditions.
South Lanarkshire Council said on Twitter: "Gritting and snow clearing will continue 24/7 over the weekend as we look to recover from continually drifting snow."
Yellow "be aware" warnings for snow and ice are in place across parts of the country over the weekend into Monday.
The Met Office warning states: "Further delays to travel and public transport could occur, whilst some rural communities could become or remain cut off. Further impacts to power supplies/mobile phone coverage are also possible."