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Travelling this Easter? Here’s all you need to know for London transport, planes, trains, and cars – CityAM

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Regulated rail fares in England will increase by up to 4.9 per cent next year, in a blow to UK commuters.

For millions of Brits, Easter is synonymous with packing up your car or running for a plane or train to get a short spring getaway in before the summer.

Being British, this means long traffic jams, delayed flights and cancelled trains, too.

After more than a year of rail delays, and the recent M25 closures, we take a look at what the great Easter getaway will look like this year.

But first thing’s first, let’s start with London

Elizabeth Line

Another round of engineering work will close the Elizabeth line between London Paddington and Stratford/ Abbey Wood. 

In central London, disruption should be minimal, with much of the Underground and Overground working absolutely fine. Some disruption will occur, on lines including:

  • Westferry – Stratford on the DLR
  • Highbury & Islington – New Cross on the Overground
  • East Croydon – Beckenham Junction.

Overground

TfL said that in addition to not running Highbury & Islington to New Cross Gate, New Cross, and Clapham Junction , there would also be no Night Overground, and on 31 March it would not be running between Sydenham and Crystal Palace.

The London Overground will not run from Sunday 31 March to Monday 1 April from Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt, and Chingford.

It said closures will take place to allow for station improvements at Surrey Quays, where a new station entrance and step-free access are being installed.

Works on the branch to Crystal Palace are to improve signalling on the line to facilitate a more reliable service.

Jenny Saunders, GTR’s Customer Services Director, said: “To help people travel over the Easter weekend, buses will replace trains on some routes, so please allow extra time when planning your journey, and double-check your route before setting off.”

In slightly more unusual news, the London Overground will be stopping at London Bridge for one day only on Easter Sunday. Trains will run from West Croyden to London Bridge so that people have a chance to get into central London despite the engineering works. 

Glynn Barton, TfL’s chief operating oficer, said: “The majority of our network will be running over the Easter weekend to help everyone make the most of the city.”

However, there will be some closures to allow for essential safety works and service upgrades and we advise customers to plan ahead and check their routes before travelling to ensure a smooth journey.”

“There are plenty of alternative travel options available, and information can be found on the TfL website and through TfL travel tools including the TfL Go app.”

London Overground workers making improvements to the network will cause disruption over Easter
London Overground workers making improvements to the network will cause disruption over Easter

As yet… there are no disruptions planned for the London Underground network, despite tube strikes being announced on Monday 8 April and Saturday 4 May.

Leaving London

A ticket from London to Manchester Piccadilly on a Friday would normally set you back about £40 and take two hours, but on Easter Friday it’s an average of £70 and takes three-and-a-half hours – that’s two separate trains and a rail replacement bus. 

National rail have warned that Easter Friday to Easter Monday will be ‘disrupted’: Here are the key lines that aren’t running over the weekend:

Euston – Milton Keynes Central: Engineering work will partially close the West Coast Main Line on this route between London and the Midlands, North West England and Scotland. It’s also worth noting that no Avanti West Coast trains will be running to or from Euston over the Easter weekend. 

London Liverpool Street – Colchester: Construction work has been scheduled for the new Beaulieu Park station, in addition to track maintenance work. 

“Train services between London and many East Anglia locations, including Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester, will be replaced by buses for part of the journey,” National Rail said.

This week it was also announced that a fresh round of train strikes are set to be staged next month with drivers across 16 companies preparing to walk out as part of a long-running dispute over pay. None are on Easter.

A passenger walks at Euston underground station platform. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A passenger walks at Euston underground station platform. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Roads will be more congested than normal, too.

Whenever a Bank Holiday rolls around, Brits get in their cars and travel to see family, or to just get out of the City.

Especially since the pandemic and the greater advent of so-called ‘staycations’, more and more have been putting their roof-boxes onto their Volvo and escaping.

Typically, there are longer delays during the peak hours on major motorways and driving groups often advise to travel very early or later in the day to avoid major congestion.

Easter Sunday will see around half of Britain’s drivers take to the road, although getaway traffic expected to peak the day before with at least 18.5 million taking to the road, according to the AA.

The AA has warned that “unpredictable” weather conditions mean drivers should “take extra care on the roads” especially if they do “encounter any spring showers.” 

“Easter is the first opportunity many people have to go and see their family and we’re expecting the roads to be busy. Before setting off on a long journey it’s important to check your car… Take 10 minutes to check your oil, coolant, and windscreen wash levels,” Chris Wood, AA Patrol of the Year, said.

“Historically there has been increased traffic over holiday weekends especially around airports, coastal roads and motorways linking the north and south. Drivers should plan well ahead as per our TRIP campaign. TRIP stands for: Top-up: oil, water, gas; Rest: every two hours; Inspect: tyres and lights; Prepare: check weather forecast and travel advice,” a spokesperson for National Highways said, and advised passengers to check their website for up-to-date travel alerts.

Recently, two miles of congestion was seen on the M25 in Surrey after a section of it was closed for a bridge removal – causing untold chaos.

But, it reopened early.

Leaving the UK 

There’s nothing quite like an Easter getaway. Or at least, that’s what it used to be like. Now it means rail replacement buses to get to the airport, delays and long queues once you get there.

Here’s what you can expect at London’s major hubs:

London Heathrow: There will be a reduced service on the Elizabeth line between Paddington and Heathrow on 29 and 30 March, with only two trains an hour. The Heathrow Express is also running a reduced timetable. The Piccadilly line should be running as normal, however (though it can take quite a long time!)

London Gatwick: National Rail trains to Gatwick, and the Gatwick Express, will operate on a normal timetable.

Queues for security and Heathrow
Queues for security and Heathrow

Stansted: The Stansted Express has warned that journeys will take longer on 31 March and 1 April. Trains will take a different route due to engineering works. 

350,000 people are predicted to pass through the airport over the weekend, with Good Friday being the busiest day, according to a spokesperson.

Luton: The Thameslink to and from Luton will be running as normal over the weekend.

Clare Armstrong, Head of Guest Experience at London Luton Airport, said: “Easter is always a popular time for people to travel and this year is no exception. Our passenger numbers for the peak Easter half-term underline the strong demand for travel to sunnier climes, or for the opportunity to experience somewhere new. Everyone at London Luton Airport is primed for what will be a very busy half-term fortnight.”

City Airport: Closures on DLR may affect travel to and from City airport, although the Jubilee line will be running as normal. 

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