Bank holiday weekend travel chaos warning as millions set for getaway

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Travel chaos is expected this bank holiday weekend as more Britons than ever battle gridlocked roads and rail engineering works to enjoy what could be a record heatwave.

A survey by tourism agency VisitEngland suggests 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 weekend in 2018 – and is the most since the research began in 2012.

Image: Brighton beach is likely to be busy during the hot Bank Holiday weekend

According to the Met Office, by Monday temperatures could reach 33C (91.4F) after what has been a fairly wet and windy month so far.

Chief meteorologist Steve Willington said: “On Saturday and Sunday there’ll be plenty of sunshine across the country with temperatures reaching into the mid-20s Celsius for many – it’ll be warmest in south-eastern parts where 30C (86F) is possible.

“By bank holiday Monday itself temperatures will rise further with around 33C possible in the South East – which would set a new record for the coming bank holiday weekend.”

However, those planning to get away by rail face major disruption on the two main north-south routes.

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Network Rail and train operators are urging people to avoid the East Coast Main Line as works are carried out as part of a £1.2bn upgrade of the route.

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has issued a “do not travel” warning for the route between London and Scotland via York on Saturday and Sunday.

The study was carried out at seaside towns in Cornwall

Image: The tourism study was carried out at seaside towns in Cornwall

This is because King’s Cross – one of London’s major railway stations – is closed as part of a major project which will prevent any trains from running between London and Peterborough.

There will be disruption to the West Coast Main Line too with track replacement work near Macclesfield and Milton Keynes reducing the number of trains leaving and arriving at London Euston.

Major upgrade works are also taking place in Newark, Nottinghamshire, affecting East Midlands Railway’s Lincoln services to and from Leicester and Nottingham.

Network Rail said it is carrying out 448 engineering projects over the weekend as “far fewer people” use trains during bank holiday weekends compared with a normal working day.

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

Traffic lines up on the M-25 motorway south of London on March 28, 2013 near Leatherhead, England. Up to one million Britons are expected to leave for warmer weather abroad after a long than usual spell of below average temperatures.

Image: The longest delays are predicted to be on the M25 anti-clockwise

But around 16.5 million journeys will take place on the UK’s roads between Friday and Monday, according to the RAC and traffic information supplier Inrix.

And Friday is expected to be the worst day for traffic jams so motorists are being urged to delay their journeys until after 9pm to avoid queues on popular tourist routes.

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

The longest delays are expected 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 usual.

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 likely to be among the busiest.

HM Coastguard has urged sun-seekers to follow their safety tips:

  • Do not jump into the water from piers, rocks, cliffs or other structures
  • Look out for lifeguards, and choose beaches where lifeguards are on duty and take note of their advice
  • Swim parallel to the shore and avoid most harbours and fast-flowing water
  • Don’t get carried away: Inflatables are not suitable for use in the sea and they can go from fun to potentially deadly in minutes

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