UK rail passengers face ‘catastrophic weekend’ of Easter interruption | Railway transport

Railroad passengers are facing a “catastrophic weekend” of disruption as engineering and strikes hamper one of the busiest Easter escapes in years.

Dozens of services to and from London have been canceled as Network Rail carries out 530 engineering projects over the weekend on public holidays.

There will be no trains on the main West Coast line to or from Euston Station until the end of Monday, which is likely to hamper football fans heading to the FA Cup semi-final between Manchester City and Liverpool at Wembley.

In Scotland and the north of England, TransPennine Express apologized for the upcoming “catastrophic weekend” as its conductors staged industrial action in a long-running pay dispute.

Edmund King, president of AA, said the chaos in the rails will direct more people on the roads, while millions enjoy the first Easter weekend in two years without the restrictions of Covid.

Since the escape began on Good Friday, with temperatures of 22C (71.6F) in London, making it the warmest day of the year so far, there has been stagnation in some parts of the country – although the break was not as bad as initially they feared.

About 4.62 million trips are expected to be made across the UK, with another 22.48 million over the weekend on holidays, which may be the busiest in years, according to the RAC.

There were major traffic jams on the M20 in Dover as P&O Dover-Calais services were suspended, with some passengers complaining that they missed their ferries after waiting for hours. The images show huge lines of cars stretching for miles.

Cars pass by queuing on the M20 in Kent. Photo: Daniel Leal / AFP / Getty Images

Ashley Griffiths-Beaman, 33, and her husband, Damian Griffiths-Beaman, 36, were married on Thursday and had to travel to Belgium on their honeymoon. They were left to wait 180 minutes in Dover and missed their ferry.

“I’m upset and disappointed,” Ashley said. “We had wonderful plans for today, which have now been ruined.”

It came when temperatures rose to 22 ° C in St James’s Park in central London on Good Friday afternoon – a similar climate to Athens and Madrid – and were expected to rise further. The previous high for this year was 20.8C, registered in March.

North Yorkshire had relatively mild weather on Friday afternoon, with temperatures in Scarborough as warm as in Gibraltar and Istanbul.

Railway passengers are advised to plan ahead and look for alternative routes amid widespread disruption by Monday night. TransPennine Express told customers to avoid its services throughout the weekend.

Trains to Heathrow were also cut off, with part of the Piccadilly Subway closed, while the Gatwick and Stansted Express lines were also closed over the weekend.

More than 9,000 flights were due to take off from UK airports between Good Friday and Easter Monday, according to aviation firm Cirium. This equates to 78% of the total before the pandemic in 2019.

Good Friday was expected to be the busiest day, when about 2,430 flights had to take off. Some passengers complained about long queues and canceled flights on Thursday night, when many wanted to take advantage of the escape, with staff shortages and Covid absences blamed for the interruption.

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