‘Final reminder’ over bank holiday rail closures

Network Rail has issued a “final reminder” that parts of the network will be closed during the bank holiday weekend amid fears that some passengers plan to travel on trains that are not running.

The government-owned company, which is carrying out 448 engineering projects between Saturday and Monday, urged passengers to “check before they travel”.

Interim route managing director David Golding said: “We appreciate there is never a good time to carry out large-scale improvements to the railway.

TRAVEL Getaway
(PA Graphics)

“I know that bank holiday engineering work can affect passengers who want to make the most of the long weekend but we plan the work to affect the fewest number of people.”

Passengers are being urged to avoid the East Coast Main Line on Saturday and Sunday as King’s Cross station will be closed as part of a major project, preventing any trains running between London and Peterborough.

There is also engineering work near Newark, Nottinghamshire.

London North Eastern Railway (LNER), which operates services on the East Coast route between London and Scotland, has issued a “do not travel” warning.

A spokesman for the operator said: “We’ve tried to get the message out regarding the closure of King’s Cross, but there will still be those turning up expecting services.

“Help us to spread the word, tell family, friends and especially infrequent travellers. Services from other London terminals will be extremely busy.”

Virgin Trains is operating a reduced timetable in and out of Euston between Saturday and Monday due to upgrade work near Macclesfield, Cheshire and Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

Motorists embarking on a bank holiday getaway by car are being urged to set off after 9pm on Friday to avoid severe queues on popular tourist routes.

Research by the RAC and traffic information supplier Inrix suggests 16.5 million leisure journeys will take place on UK roads between Friday and Monday.

Friday is expected to be the worst day for jams as five million drivers embarking on journeys for a holiday or day trip battle for road space with commuters.

Roads are likely to be busiest between 11am and 6.30pm.

The longest delays are predicted to be on the M25 anti-clockwise from Junction 4 at Orpington/Bromley to Junction 1 at Swanscombe/Dartford at around 3.15pm, with journeys taking 55 minutes longer than normal.

A northbound stretch of the M6 from Junction 18 at Northwich/Chester to Junction 24 at St Helens is estimated to have 54-minute hold-ups at around 2pm.

Routes to coastal resorts and countryside beauty spots are also likely to be among the busiest.

The best time to be on the road will be after 9pm, but that will be too late for millions of people travelling long distances.

RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous said: “For many people, this coming weekend is the last chance to enjoy a long weekend this side of Christmas.

Over 16.5m leisure journeys planned this bank holiday weekend – here are the best and worst times to travel 👉 https://t.co/QyNHIzkCnV#BankHolidaypic.twitter.com/8C38mH2f5M

— The RAC (@TheRAC_UK) August 22, 2019

“With the weather improving, that’s likely to mean a lot of cars on the road heading to popular tourist destinations.

“A lot of the breakdowns we expect to see this weekend are preventable, so it’s vital drivers check over their car before setting out.”

Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at Inrix, said: “Bank holidays have historically been one of the busiest times for road trips, and this year drivers could even see record-level travel delays.”

Highways England said it is keeping 97% of England’s motorways and major A-roads free from roadworks this weekend.

A survey by tourism agency VisitEngland indicated that 8.6 million Britons are planning an overnight trip in the UK this weekend.

This is up from 7.3 million for the August bank holiday in 2018 and is the most since the research began in 2012.

Among the popular events on this weekend are Notting Hill Carnival in west London; Edinburgh Fringe festival; Reading and Leeds Festivals; Manchester Pride; and Creamfields, near Warrington in Cheshire.

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