ScotRail trains suspended as Scotland battered by 140mph winds
Extreme weather sparks major disruption with train cancellations, school closures and up to 45,000 homes still without power.
Many ScotRail services have been suspended after the country was battered by winds of 140mph.
Major disruption has been caused across Scotland with thousands of homes affected by power cuts.
Around 45,000 homes are still without power, with Scottish Hydro Electric having reconnected over 50,000 people after the disruption.
Network Rail is inspecting lines for damage caused by the hurricane force winds which brought gusts of up to 140mph in the Cairngorms and 113mph on lower ground.
On Friday morning all services were suspended for safety checks but some lines have now been deemed safe and services are beginning to return. Commuters are urged to check the ScotRail website for updates.
Kilmarnock, North Berwick, Fife and Newcraighall services had returned by around 8.30am with the vast majority still suspended.
Schools have also been closed and travel restrictions are in place due to the extreme overnight weather conditions.
Amber warnings have been issued by the Met Office for the north and central belt of Scotland, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, as an Atlantic jet stream reaches land.
The worst of the weather happened in the early hours of Friday morning with disruption expected during the morning rush-hour.
Premier Inn damage
It is feared buildings could be damaged, trees uprooted and travel and power lines affected by the high winds.
The highest gusts recorded so far in Scotland were 140mph at the Cairngorm summit, 113mph in Stornoway, 110mph in Loch Glascarnoch, 93mph in Wick, 90mph in Blackford Hill in Edinburgh and 90mph on South Uist.
Arnold Clark van swept onto beach on Lewis
A number of ferries have also be delayed or cancelled due to the weather. CalMac's 2.30pm sailing from Oban to Castlebay and Lochboisdale is cancelled due to strong winds.
Sailings from Raasay, Sconser, Lismore and Lochaline were also cancelled as well as services to Barra and Iona.
The volunteer crew of Oban Lifeboat were called out at 11:40pm on Thursday after a man fell from the North Pier in Oban Bay during what they described as "one of the worst storms of the winter".
The crew began the search for the man and he was recovered safe and well.
Around 73,000 people were left without power in the Highlands and islands. Several CalMac and NorthLink ferry services have been affected by disruption or cancellations.
Engineers have been dispatched to deal with around 150 faults caused by the high winds. Scottish Hydro Power said it was on red alert around 1000 engineers have been deployed to potential problem areas in its northern network and extra staff will be manning call centres.
A statement read: “We are facing a monumental task in getting to the damaged equipment. Trees and branches have made some rural roads impassable.
"We are also having to remove airborne debris tangled up in our power lines. And then there is the added problem of fading daylight, strong winds and rain. We will work as long as we can but working in the dark can be potentially dangerous.
"It is regrettable that some of our customers may be left without power overnight."
Scottish Power said around 6000 of its customers are without power, with 6000 reconnected overnight.
A spokesperson for SP Energy Networks said: "We have pockets of faults mainly across the central belt, from Ayrshire to Lanarkshire and across to the Lothians."
A lorry was blown over in strong winds on the M74 between junction nine and ten near Kirkmuirhill, South Lanarkshire.
Stornoway Coastguard said they were called out with the council to help an 80-year-old woman whose window had blown in.
The Forth Road Bridge was closed to all vehicles for part of Friday morning after a van blew over just before 1am, but was reopend at around 9.30am except for high-sided vehicles, trailers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.
Forth Road Bridge
A burst water main in West Linton, Peebleshire, meant customers experienced loss of water supply, low pressure, and discoloured water, Scottish Water said.
The ferocious gales have been stirred up by an extra-powerful jet stream triggered by plunging temperatures in the United States hitting warmer air in the south.
Forecasters said the 250mph jet stream would bring two "vigorous depressions" to the UK over the coming days.
Flood warnings are in place in central and northern Scotland and all schools in the Western Isles and Orkney have been closed as a precaution, with ferry and train timetables reduced because of the winds.
A spokesman for ScotRail said: "For safety reasons it will be necessary for Network Rail to inspect rail lines across the network for damage this morning before allowing passengers to travel on routes.
"Due to the severity of the overnight storm, some ScotRail services are currently suspended to allow Network Rail to check the lines are safe for trains to run.
"At present we are advising customers not to try to travel by train. Thank you for your understanding. We are working with Network Rail to re-open lines as soon as we can."
Will Lang, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: "The winds will be at their strongest through the early hours of Friday and this brings the potential for disruption across Scotland, but there is a chance that strong, gusty winds could persist into the early part of the morning rush-hour as well.
"We'd advise anyone planning to travel during the early part of the morning and into the early rush-hour to be prepared for some transport disruption and check traffic and travel conditions before heading out to ensure you can make your journey safely."