NINETY people were evacuated from their homes as a flood-hit market town again found itself under water.

Flood defences were put in place at Morpeth, Northumberland , after flooding in 2008.

But the town centre was under water again yesterday after the River Wansbeck burst its banks following heavy rainfall.

Homes in Dawson Place were evacuated as a precaution and firefighters used inflatable rescue boats to get to people after properties in Stanners flooded.

Forty people were evacuated from houses and a block of flats in Newburn, Newcastle, after flooding of the foundations threatened their stability.

Water cascaded from a culvert that had caused problems in June, putting the Spencer Court flats, in Mill Vale, in danger of collapse.

A further 50 properties were evacuated in Longacre, Dubnelm Drive, Mill Terrace, all Houghton-le-Spring, Dene Street, Borrowdale Street, Hetton-le-Hole, and in Washington , all Wearside .

Four schools closed – Durham Trinity, Hutton Henry Primary, Shield Row Primary, at Stanley , and St Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form Centre, Lanchester .

They were due to reopen today, apart from Shield Row, which has a heating problem.

The journey to work became a nightmare for thousands of people as flooding and knock-on problems hit travel on road and rail.

On the East Coast Main Line, trains were stopped between Newcastle, York and London and only a few were able to run northwards to Edinburgh.

Road closures throughout the area meant that remaining open roads quickly became clogged as traffic flow became a trickle. Bus services suffered delays – in some cases of two or three hours – and some buses had to be rerouted because roads were closed.

Tom Dodds, stakeholder manager for the region’s biggest bus operator, Go North-East, said conditions had been “horrendous”.

He said: “We have kept all our buses on the road.

“I think we have to thank our passengers for being so patient and our drivers for doing a magnificent job in simply keeping everything moving. The biggest problem we have faced is flooding and people abandoning cars, making roads impassable.”

The company was looking to run extra buses from late yesterday afternoon.

Chief Inspector Vicki Martin, of Durham Police, said: “As long as the risk of flooding continues, we are advising people to stay safe, check their route before setting out, use alternatives if possible, expect delays and be patient.

“We are putting up-to-date information out regularly on Twitter and Facebook.

“If you are at home, please keep an eye out for elderly or vulnerable friends or neighbours.”

The A1 western bypass was shut on Tyneside between the Coal House roundabout and Lobley Hill.

Heavy rain led to the partial collapse of the westbound carriageway of the A690 outside the Reg Vardy car dealership, just off the A19 Stoneygate junction in Sunderland.

Diversions were in place for south-west-bound traffic via the A19 north/A183 Chester Road to Shiney Row/A182 to Houghton-le-Spring. Stoneygate junction will remain open. The diversion is likely to be in place for at least three days.

The A167 Durham to Chester-le-Street road was closed between Pity Me and Plawsworth for much of the day.

The A177 was also closed for a time near Shincliffe, two miles from Durham.