Easter travellers face traffic jams and rail disruption – BBC


By Becky Morton
Business reporter, BBC News

Travellers are facing traffic jams on some roads and disruption to trains as the Easter weekend gets under way.
There was heavy congestion on motorways near London and Kent on Friday, while holiday traffic to south west England led to jams near Bristol, the AA said.
But despite some hotspots, the RAC said vehicles on many of the country's major roads appeared to be running reasonably freely.
It comes as several major train routes are closed for engineering works.
The AA said there was a build up of traffic on the M25 as well as the M20 in Kent. There have also been jams on the M4 and M5 near Bristol.
The AA dealt with 6,000 breakdowns by 15:00 BST on Friday. Hot weather led to more vehicles overheating when stuck in traffic jams, it said.
Meanwhile, there have been long queues at the Port of Dover, where P&O Ferries' services are still not running.
Edmund King, the AA's president, said traffic was likely to remain busier than usual and would start picking up on Saturday morning with football traffic flooding from Liverpool and Manchester to Wembley as there are no direct trains.
"It would have saved a lot of congestion and CO2 if the FA Cup semi-final was held in the north rather than having both sets of fans driving hundreds of miles south and back. It looks like Saturday will be another busy day on the roads so drivers should be prepared," he continued.
He said there were traffic jams on the M20, while the M25 also suffered heavy congestion on the west side around Heathrow and the east near Dartford earlier.
He advised travellers to "give yourselves extra time for the journey and build regular stops at least every two hours or so into your trip".
The AA said traffic had eased during the afternoon, although hotspots remained on the south and south west coast.
Rod Dennis, from the RAC, said: "While much of the country's major roads appear to be running reasonably freely at the moment, Easter getaway traffic is starting to build in certain spots and that is likely to continue through the day."
The RAC predicted Good Friday would be the busiest day of the bank holiday weekend, with an estimated 4.62 million journeys by car likely across the UK.
After two years of relatively quiet Easter bank holidays on the roads because of Covid restrictions, it said drivers were planning about 21.5 million trips over the bank holiday – the highest figure since it started its driver surveys in 2014.
Meanwhile, rail passengers are facing delays and cancellations, with Network Rail carrying out 530 engineering projects across the bank holiday weekend, costing a total of £83m.
No trains will run in or out of Euston station in London until the end of Monday on the West Coast main line, which is likely to disrupt football fans going to the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.
Trains to the West Midlands, north west England and parts of Scotland will instead start from Milton Keynes Central.
There will be also be no Southern services to and from London Victoria all weekend, nor any direct trains from London to Stansted Airport.
Alternative services are expected to be busy and Network Rail has advised people to travel either side of the bank holiday.
There were long queues at the Port of Dover on Friday, with some travellers complaining they missed their ferries after waiting for hours.
Ferry company DFDS urged customers to allow three hours to complete border checks.
It said customers delayed by traffic at border control would be transferred to the first available departure.
The Port of Dover also advised customers to allow extra time for their journey, saying there were delays at French border controls prior to check-in.
Some lorries were being forced to queue on the A20 outside Dover, as part of the Traffic Access Protocol (TAP) scheme, which is designed to limit congestion in the town.
Busy, busy, busy at the Port of Dover. pic.twitter.com/fJKXNR931c
P&O Ferries' Dover-Calais services remain suspended, nearly a month after the company sacked about 800 workers without notice.
Two of the company's ferries which normally serve the route are still detained after they failed safety inspections.
Bad weather, the Easter holidays and problems with an IT system for customs checks following Brexit have also contributed to congestion around Dover in recent days.
This has led to long queues for lorries crossing the Channel.
Operation Brock, which sees lorries heading to Dover queue on one side of the M20, was put in place last week to help manage the traffic.
However, National Highways said it had now been scaled back as the threat of disruption had reduced.
Has there been any disruption to your travel plans? Share your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.
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