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Travel warning for Easter with “14 million” holiday trips on the road, record numbers at airports and major construction work planned on the railway

Britons have been warned of long delays to their Easter trips as more than 14 million journeys are expected by road, airports brace for record numbers of passengers and construction work on key rail links.

The RAC warned that journeys on popular routes could take twice as long as usual as the bank holiday weekend turns into a two-week holiday for many schools.

Trains will also be halted as Network Rail carries out construction work on the West Coast Main Line, which stretches from the capital to Scotland London Euston and Milton Keynes.

And at least three major airports have announced that the coming days will be the busiest Easter weekend on record.

Travel expert Simon Calder told Sky News that Bristol, Newcastle and Edinburgh are forecasting record numbers of passengers from Good Friday to Easter Monday and routes to Geneva are expected to be extremely busy.

Around two million Brits are expected to fly away over the bank holiday weekend Bristol 30,000 holidaymakers are expected on Easter Sunday alone.

Airports will continue to be busy during the school holidays. On April 5, Luton is expecting around 38 passengers per minute.

Business airports such as Heathrow will be “under a lot of pressure today,” according to Mr Calder, adding that the increased demand was caused by Easter falling earlier than usual.

“In light of Easter Sunday being March 31, many schools are actually closing today, adding further stress to an already busy Easter day,” he said.

On Sunday April 7th, Gatwick and Southampton will experience their busiest days.

File image: PA
Around two million Brits are expected to fly away over the bank holiday weekend. File image: PA

Not a “good time” for railway work

The West Coast Main Line will remain closed between Good Friday and Easter Monday and disruption will occur rail Services are also expected in Glasgow and Huddersfield.

Laurence Bowman, Network Rail’s network strategy director, said earlier this week that there is “never a good time to do the work we need to do”, but explained that lower numbers of commuters over the bank holiday weekend gave them “the there is an opportunity to do so.” Doing big jobs that we couldn’t do on a normal weekend.

“We have 493 different jobs taking place over Easter, most of them overnight,” he added, “including laying over 8,000 meters of new rail and placing over 40,000 tonnes of new ballast to support the tracks.”


RAC spokeswoman Alice Simpson warned that “Carmageddon” could occur over Easter and said heavy traffic and “long queues” were expected on routes to the usual hotspots.

Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at Inrix, also said that “drivers should be prepared for longer than normal trips throughout the weekend.”

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File image: PA
The West Coast Main Line will remain closed between Good Friday and Easter Monday. File image: PA

The worst times to travel

A survey commissioned by RAC and Inrix found that 2.6 million journeys were planned on Good Friday, with around 2.3 million journeys expected for both Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Another two million trips are expected on Thursday and Easter Monday, and another 3.3 million trips are pending without a clear start date, for a total of around 14.5 million trips.

Inrix and Mr Calder both independently forecast that the worst traffic is expected between 2pm and 7pm on Thursday, when holiday travel mixes with regular commuter journeys.

Inrix added that the busiest route is expected to be the western section of the M25 between the M23 to Gatwick and the M1 to Hertfordshire, where journeys from 4pm are expected to take more than two hours, more than double the usual time.

The southbound M5 between Bristol and Taunton and the M3 between the M25 and the south coast are also likely to be congested, according to Inrix, with estimated journey times more than double normal.

The survey, conducted by research firm Find Out Now, surveyed 2,136 adults in the UK.

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According to the RAC and Inrix, around 2.3 million journeys are expected for both Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday. File image: PA

A The yellow weather warning for strong winds also applies on Thursdayas unsettled conditions caused by Storm Nelson are likely to further impact travel.

The Met Office said the warning applies from 7am to 6pm on Thursday, stretching in a band from places such as St Ives and Penzance in the south-west to Brighton.

Sky News weather producer Christopher England also said: “Next week will remain mostly unsettled, with further heavy showers or extended periods of rain and gusts of 70mph near the Channel coasts, thanks to the Spanish-named Storm Nelson .”

More delays at Dover

In the meantime, Brits taking ferries should be able to embark without much trouble, except for the port of Dover This is where French border officials check passports before they leave the UK.

The port pointed this out in a statement France’s increased terror warning after the attack in Moscowsaid: “These measures may extend border clearance times at the port.”

“Please keep this in mind when traveling to the port and check with your ferry operator for arrival times.”

Seen last year severe delays and long queues at the port with waiting times of up to two hours.

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From 2023: “Significant” delays in Easter trips

Around 20,000 cars are expected to pass through the Port of Dover between Thursday and Easter. To make travel easier, a bus handling facility has been set up at the Western Docks for Thursday and Saturday.

Bus passengers and motorists are processed outside the main port and then taken to the East Port for a quick passport check before beginning their ferry journey.

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