Two bridges swept away amid flooding in Scottish Borders

Bridges have been washed away and homes flooded in the Scottish Borders after heavy downpours hit Dumfries and Galloway.

The conditions also led to the closure of schools, as well as travel disruption in the south and west of Scozia, while rail passengers were advised not to travel north of Preston in north-west England amid delays due to railway speed restrictions.

In the town of Annan, two footbridges – the Cuthbertson and the Diamond Jubilee – collapsed and were swept away as the River Annan rose on Thursday evening.

Network Rail Scotland said the bridges destroyed were north of the railway with trains unable to pass over a viaduct, closing the line from Glasgow Central to Carlisle via Dumfries. The line will remain closed until workers can inspect Annan viaduct.

The flooding caused major delays for world leaders travelling to Glasgow for Cop26. Two days before the start of the climate summit, Network Rail said it had been “working hard throughout the night to deal with flooding” on the west coast mainline, with Avanti and TransPennine Express services facing speed restrictions for safety. Avanti West Coast advised rail passengers not to travel on the west coast line north of Preston on Friday.

A major incident was declared in Hawick in the Scottish Borders on Thursday night with fears that up to 500 properties could be affected by flooding, amid downpours that also hit the Lake District.

Officers in Hawick called in the Borders Water Rescue Team, mountain rescue and fire crews to help evacuate properties, and schools and health centres were closed. The rest centre at Teviotdale leisure centre was reopened to offer assistance to anyone displaced by the risk of flooding.

By Friday morning, the council confirmed the River Teviot had reached its peak level at 2.9 metri (9.5ft) and was beginning to recede after 7pm, and the major incident was stood down. Evacuations ceased and people were told it was safe to return home.

There was serious flooding in Peebles and all schools in the area closed on Thursday. Seven schools shut in Dumfries and Galloway. Altrove, water poured on to the street at Whitesands in Dumfries after the River Nith burst its banks.

Flooding also closed the A709 near Lockerbie, while a minor landslide blocked the B725 near Bankend in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued 14 flood warnings and seven alerts on Friday, while in England 47 alerts and 23 warnings were in place from the Environment Agency. Natural Resources Wales issued 33 alerts.

A Met Office yellow warning for southern Scotland and South Lanarkshire covered Strathclyde, Central Scotland, Tayside, Fife and the Lothians on Thursday. Forecasters expect more rain on Friday, with the possibility of further disruption from flooding.

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