Shropshire communities still without power after Storm Arwen

Villages and isolated properties were left without power three days after Storm Arwen wreaked havoc across Shropshire.

One of the trees on a Transport for Wales line
One of the trees on a Transport for Wales line

While electricity has now been restored to most of the thousands of properties hit by outages caused by the storm, there are still areas where residents are without power.

Communities have rallied round, opening village halls and setting up social media posts to offer camping stoves or hot meals to those affected.

Residents in parts of Trefonen near Oswestry say they are frustrated at the lack of information from Scottish Power.

The whole village was plunged into darkness overnight on Friday as Storm Arwen hit.

But while some streets were reconnected on Saturday a swathe of houses running through the centre of Trefonen and including the Candy Woods and Croesaubach were still without power on Monday and residents say they were left in the dark about when it would be restored.

Freya Humphries said: "We were being told on the website it would be restored by midday, then 4pm then 6pm then midnight - but nothing happened.

"If we knew it was going to be some time people could have made arrangements to go to relatives, but being told the electricity would be on in a couple of hours we have been sitting it out."

She said that her house had also been without water.

"We live on a hill and so have to have our water pumped up to us. But we can manage and our daughter has been able to help. However there are elderly and vulnerable residents living here."

She said the community had rallied round to help and said the village hall - which did have power - had been open to offer hot drinks and phone chargers.

"There are lines down and pinned to the floor beyond School Lane and it is frustrating that nothing has yet been done about it. The communication has been dreadful. We appreciate that Scottish Power must be overstretched but they could have kept us in touch."

Scottish Power has been asked to comment.

Other village halls opened to help residents included one in Welshampton where a generator was brought in so that people could access hot drinks and use phone chargers.

Volunteers from as far afield as Ellesmere took hot soup to the hall to distribute to villagers.

A cat rescue charity in North Shropshire was given a helping hand by a local veterinary centre.

Eve Dodds, who runs the Sleapy Cat Rescue, in Sleap near Wem, said she had been at her wits' end with the electricity off from Friday through Monday.

"We had three five-week old kittens who at that age can't regulate their body temperature. Thankfully a wonderful volunteer, Jenni Herbert Lade, took those to her home.

"She has also been coming here every day to help and people with electricity have been able to warm up our microwavable body warmers for our nine cats."

Eve said that on Monday the Bridgefield Veterinary Centre stepped in and offered to look after the cats.

"I was so very grateful. I had just unloaded them when I had a phone call to say that the electricity was back on. However the vet said to leave the cats there overnight in case the power went off again."

Storm Arwen had a major impact on rail services over the weekend and services will continue to be affected this week.

Speed restrictions were in place across much of the network across the weekend with wind speeds of up to 90mph in some parts of Wales.

The extreme weather throughout Friday night and early Saturday morning resulted in damage to overhead line equipment and fallen trees and debris landing on the track creating a hazard for trains.

Network Rail worked throughout the weekend to reopen as much of the network as possible by Monday morning. However, where TfW trains have run over debris, they need to be returned to the depot for safety checks and to be repaired, and this will impact rail services this week.

TfW is encouraging all customers to check before they travel using journeycheck.com/tfwrail.

Jan Chaudhry-Van der Velde, Managing Director of TfW Rail said: “Storm Arwen had a major impact on rail services over the weekend with many lines closed by fallen trees and other obstructions. This caused damage to a number of our trains, and our fleet engineers have worked through the weekend checking the damage and repairing rolling stock in our depots.

“It will take some time to complete all the repairs, and this will have an impact on train services in the meantime. I would encourage customers to check before travel for the latest updates.

Rachel Heath, Operations Manager at Network Rail Wales & Borders, said: “Our teams have been working around the clock to clear-up the aftermath of Storm Arwen. It’s thanks to their hard work, in very challenging conditions, that we managed to re-open most lines by Monday morning.

“Once again, it is a reminder of the challenges we face on the railway during periods of extreme weather.”

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