THE railway system was once notoriously thrown into chaos by the wrong kind of leaves on the line. But yesterday it was icicles on the overhead wires that caused problems for commuters.

With temperatures plunging to -9C overnight, early-morning services carrying passengers from Renfrewshire and Ayrshire to Glasgow suffered delays as Johnstone station was suddenly taken off the stopping list.

ScotRail’s Twitter account said at 7.05am: “Due to icicles on the overhead lines in the Johnstone area we are unable to stop our trains at the station.”

A further tweet said: “We have staff making their way to Johnstone station and we estimate they should be there by 8am, and as soon as we have feedback from them we will update you.”

They also advised: “Passengers should also consider travelling via Milliken Park instead.”

The icicles did not cause too much trouble, as ScotRail tweeted at 8.37am: “Our staff have now removed the icicles from the overhead lines in the Johnstone area and we are now able to stop our trains at the station again.”

Problems were also experienced on the line between Clydebank and Dalmuir when tracks were affected by the extreme cold.

In the same area, early morning ScotRail services were cancelled due to a train blocked in the yard at Yoker by the severe weather, but the problem was rectified quickly.

The Met Office said the lowest temperature overnight was -9.8C at Strathallan. A low of -9C was recorded at Glasgow Airport, while Edinburgh Airport positively balmy at -8C.

In the Borders and elsewhere there were reports of huge demand for plumbers and heating engineers after kerosene froze in pipes between houses and external oil tanks.

On the roads, Police Scotland reported a spate of minor crashes yesterday morning saying that at one point they had dealt with 25 incidents on the road in an hour.

At 8am, Police Scotland tweeted: “Road traffic collision reports are coming in fast this morning, 25 in the last hour alone. These sometimes cannot be avoided, but please remember that stopping distances can be up to 10 times longer in icy conditions.”

Over the weekend, police also dealt with car thefts caused by people leaving their doors open and engines on to defrost their vehicles.

Police Scotland tweeted: “Another reminder. DO NOT leave your car unattended when defrosting. We know it’s cold, but your insurance WON’T cover you if you start it up and walk away. A number of vehicles were taken yesterday across Scotland.”

The very cold weather is set to ease off as clouds gather over Scotland today and over the next few days.

A Met Office spokesman said yesterday: “We’ve started to see a pick-up in wind speed from the south and there should be a cloudy spell of weather coming.

“The very low minimums of the past few days are probably not going to be repeated.

“It may be down to -3C tonight but generally minimum temperatures will not be as low due to increasing wind and cloud.”