Millions of commuters were facing travel misery as hurricane strength winds from one of the heaviest storms to hit England in years paralysed the train network.

Flooding and winds gusting up to 100mph hit the West Country in the early hours and blasted eastwards across southern England.

Several train companies warned of severely disrupted services for travellers and have advised passengers not to take the railways.

South West Trains said it would run a significantly reduced timetable and cancelled services before 8am as it advised passengers not to travel. Trains would have a 50mph speed limit amid fears tracks could be blocked by fallen trees and debris, the firm said.

Southern Trains said it is unlikely to run any services before at least 9am tomorrow because of potential damage from the storm.

Robin Gisby, network operations managing director for Network Rail, said commuters should expect considerable disruption.

"This will impact up to Birmingham and up to Nottingham and the Midlands. If we get through this in the morning, restore the service during the afternoon and are able to start up a good service on Tuesday morning, in the circumstances I'll be pretty pleased," he said.

Travel warnings include:

  • South West Trains have advised people not to travel on Monday with most services not running until at least 08:00 GMT to allow Network Rail to check lines. A reduced timetable will be in operation, with some trains limited to speeds of 50mph
  • East Coast will operate a revised emergency timetable on Monday, with trains stopping at Peterborough until 10:00 GMT, and limited to speeds of 50mph afterwards
  • First Great Western and Virgin West Coast main line are also running an amended service until 10:00 GMT and 09:00 GMT respectively. First Great Western has suspended the service between Guildford and Gatwick Airport. Virgin West Coast said journey times may be extended by up to 70 minutes
  • First Capital Connect and C2C said services are unlikely to begin until 09:00 GMT. Greater Anglia, Southern, Stansted Express and Gatwick Express have also said services will not run until after 09:00 GMT
  • London Overground will not run a service on Monday before 09:00 GMT, while Southeastern said services might not start until 09:00 or 10:00 GMT, and then with an amended timetable
  • An empty passenger train has hit a tree near Ivybridge station in Devon. The driver was unhurt, and services are delayed between Plymouth and Exeter
  • Airports including Heathrow and Gatwick are warning of possible disruption to flights, advising passengers to check with airlines
  • EasyJet has warned passengers there could be disruption to flights on Monday. It said no trains would run to Gatwick, Southend, Stansted or Luton airports before 09:00 GMT
  • Eurostar said it will not be running cross-Channel rail services on Monday until 07:00 GMT, with services from London subject to 20-minute delays
  • Several ferry companies have also cancelled services, including some English Channel and Irish Sea crossings
  • The A249 Sheppey Crossing in Kent and the Queen Elizabeth II bridge on the M25 are closed. The Tamar Bridge which joins Cornwall and Devon has reopened
  • Both Severn crossings between South Wales and England, the M4 and M48, have reopened