RAIL passengers have been urged not to travel due to extreme weather conditions.

Storm Ciara is set to hit Sussex tomorrow bringing with it winds of up to 80mph and heavy rainfall.

The Met Office has placed an Amber Weather Warning for wind over the South East, warning that "flying debris could lead to "injuries or danger to life" and there are likely to be "longer journey times and cancellations, as road, rail, air and ferry services affected".

Govia Thameslink Railway has warned that this could cause severe disruption to its services and so is advising customers to avoid travelling.

A spokesman said this means there is an "increased risk of damage to overhead power lines and trees or other debris being blown on to the tracks".

He said: "As a safety precaution, and to reduce the chance of the overhead lines being damaged, Network Rail is set to impose a speed restriction of 50mph across the network on Sunday.

"Thameslink and Great Northern will have to significantly reduce its service, and trains that do run will take longer due to the speed restrictions in force."

Managing director for Thameslink and Great Northern, Tom Moran, said: “We are putting passengers first, and thinking of their safety given the extreme weather forecast.

“There is a high risk of disruption right across our network, and we are having to reduce our service, so we are advising passengers not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

“We’ll have extra managers on the ground to help and will be running trains over much of the network in the early hours of Monday morning to check the routes are clear.

“However, there may still be disruption on Monday morning and I would urge commuters to check before they travel on our websites."