Tractor driver sparks travel chaos after ‘dumping floodwater onto train line’

Cheshire: Tractor appears to dump flood water at train station

A spokesman for Network Rail said the video – which appeared to show a tractor towing a slurry trailer releasing liquid into the car park – “made my blood boil”. It was filmed by a member of the public at Hartford station near Northwich in Cheshire on Wednesday evening, as heavy rainfall caused flooding and widespread disruption to the county. In the footage, a tractor is reversed into the station entrance before the liquid is released from the slurry trailer.

According to Network Rail, it then cascaded down the station access road and onto the West Coast main line below – causing further difficulties for staff clearing sections of flooded railway.

Phil James, Network Rail’s North West route director, said: “When we were already struggling with Storm Christoph, this cynical opportunist decided to use the railway as their own personal sewer.

“Seeing this video made my blood boil. We will be working with police to take the strongest action possible against this tractor driver for damaging the railway, delaying people and goods, and potentially putting the lives of passengers and workers at risk.”

Network Rail said the video had been passed on to British Transport Police who were now looking into the footage.

Severe flood warnings remain in place after hundreds of residents were told to leave their homes overnight because of adverse weather caused by Storm Christoph.

Homes were flooded following heavy rainfall and snow showers in Cheshire, with roads disrupted and residents in the county warned that river levels were still rising on Thursday.

Residents were evacuated overnight in the Didsbury and Northenden areas of Greater Manchester, with the Government preparing for further impacts from unsettled weather.

Over 170 flood warnings remained in place across England at midday on Thursday, with three “severe” warnings – meaning danger to life – issued for parts of the North West.

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A severe flood warning has been issued for the English River Dee at Farndon in Cheshire, where water levels are expected to peak on Thursday afternoon, according to the Environment Agency.

It said that the “flooding of property is imminent” and that staff were closely monitoring weather forecasts and river levels.

Superintendent Julie Westgate, from Cheshire Constabulary, said a number of residents had been evacuated in Warrington, Northwich, Chester, Ellesmere Port and Tattenhall.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue said on Thursday morning it was in the process of rescuing 21 people by boat from Lea Court nursing home in the town of Warrington.


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In Northwich, roads into the town centre have been closed and pedestrians are being asked to avoid the area due to footpaths being “under numerous inches of water”, police said on Twitter.

Another tweet by Northwich Police said that a number of agencies were involved in the evacuation of retirement village Weaver Court.

Gabrielle Burns-Smith, 44, whose home in Lymm flooded, said that she “watched the water coming through the back door” in the early hours of Thursday morning.

She said: “By 3pm yesterday the water outside was shin-deep and by 4pm it was knee-deep, and we were seriously worrying that the house was going to be breached. Then it was.

“We’re still in the house, we can’t go anywhere because we can’t get the car out, the water is just too deep. Both our living rooms are flooded.”

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