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Rain brings chaos to roads and railways

Staffordshire | News | Published:

Relentless rain caused chaos on roads and railways across the Midlands – with a warning of more to come today and later in the week.

Forty-six flood alerts were in place across the region this morning, with the River Severn among those at risk of flooding according to the Environment Agency.

And experts say more warnings will be issued throughout the week, with downpours expected to continue today and tomorrow. Up to four inches of rain has fallen in parts of the region since yesterday morning, causing drains to flood and shutting roads.

As well as major disruption on the A4123 Wolverhampton Road at Oldbury, workers from Severn Trent were called to clear water near Wodensborough Community Technology College, in Hyde Road, Wednesbury. Sandwell Council reported flooding in Lyttleton Street, in West Bromwich, and Wigmore Lane, between Newton Road and Charlemont Road, in Great Barr, underneath the M5 elevated section.

On the trains, the Severn Valley Railway in Worcestershire was hit by flooding when a branch blocked a stream running underneath the track. Some water overflowed on to the line between Bewdley and Arley during the torrential downpours. The last train of the day from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster at about 5pm had to terminate at Arley, with a bus service put on for passengers.

General manager Nick Ralls said: "We have a siphon that pushes water from a stream under the line but a branch got stuck and it overflowed. It didn't cause any damage to the line and it just caused some disruption on the final service of the day."

And the heavy rain brought misery for two couples in Staffordshire after drains failed to cope with the excess water.

Roger and Jennifer Borton were horrified to return home and find their drive in Rugeley covered in excrement after a storm drain flooded. They were forced to stay up all night to prevent the waste matter from entering their bungalow.

Severn Trent Water went out to the property in Averill Drive but left at 1am, saying they needed to get a more powerful pump. "The excrement was three inches deep at times. I'm 65 with a heart problem, we just couldn't cope," said Mrs Borton. "Friends came over to help but they couldn't stay all night because of work in the morning.

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"We kept thinking any minute now the water company will be back but it never happened. It was a dreadful situation. The stench was awful." The mother-of-three and her husband, a retired service engineer, are considering taking legal action against Severn Trent. The blockage was eventually resolved at 1pm yesterday. Company spokeswoman Helen Fee said: "Sewer flooding can be both distressing and disruptive and Severn Trent treats these incidents very seriously. We apologise to those affected." Meanwhile at Spring Slade Lodge in Cannock Chase, staff were forced to take emergency action to prevent a repeat of destructive flash floods in June.

Sandbags prevented water breaching tea rooms at the site but owner Kay Le Page was braced for more rainfall today.

The Met Office forecast for the West Midlands is for an unsettled week with further outbreaks of rain and strong winds.

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