Bank holiday travellers face delays

Travellers face rain and road and rail delays this bank holiday weekend.

With forecasters predicting sunshine and showers, those planning car journeys were warned to expect congestion.



The Highways Agency will have completed some roadworks before the weekend and is lifting restrictions at other sites.



But restrictions remain in place at 32 locations, including two sections of the M25 and works at the M48 in Chepstow in Wales and the M62 near Leeds.



Some rail passengers will have to contend with bus replacement services - although there will be less disruption than over the 2009 August bank holiday period.



However, rail customer watchdog Passenger Focus Rail called for industry restrictions to be relaxed during disruption so that passengers were not charged more for taking the quickest route.



Heathrow is handling 840,000 passengers over the four-day period from Friday to Bank Holiday Monday, with the busiest day being Friday when 217,900 people will be passing through the west London airport.



Heathrow's five busiest destinations over the bank holiday period are New York, Dubai, Paris, Dublin and Los Angeles.



The Highways Agency will have completed 83 sets of roadworks before the weekend and is lifting restrictions at 24 more sites from 6am on Friday until midnight on Monday.



Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said: "The completion and lifting of these roadworks will help those planning to drive over a notoriously busy weekend for our roads. More than 98% of the network will be clear of roadworks, meaning more lanes will be open and many speed restrictions lifted.



"Traffic officers will also be patrolling the network to help clear up any incidents as quickly as possible. And the Highways Agency will continue to provide a range of traffic information services to help road users plan their journeys."



Congestion is expected at the many music festivals taking place over the weekend. The Highways Agency urged those attending the Reading Festival in Berkshire to use public transport where possible.



The RAC said today that major routes were likely to start getting particularly busy early on Friday afternoon, with Bank Holiday Monday evening and next Tuesday morning expected to be busy times as well.



The RAC said congestion hotspots were likely to include the M25, the M1 in Bedfordshire, the M4 in Berkshire, the M23 in Sussex and the M40 in Oxfordshire.



Also expected to be busy are roads taking drivers towards south west England as well as routes in the Lake District, roads near Blackpool, roads near Alton Towers in Staffordshire and routes through Boston in Lincolnshire.



On the railways, there will be almost 30% fewer replacement bus services needed than in the August bank holiday 2009 period.



One section of track affected by engineering work is between Wolverhampton and Stafford which will hit services run by the Arriva Trains Wales, CrossCountry, London Midlands and Virgin train companies, with buses replacing trains on some sections of the West Coast Main Line.



Passenger Focus said industry restrictions should be relaxed during disruption so passengers were not charged more for taking the quickest route.



It said that, for example, passengers travelling between Manchester and London at midday this Sunday could save around half an hour by travelling via Doncaster. However, as it does not fall within the industry's list of "Permitted Routes", this option is not advertised on websites and will cost passengers more than £10 extra.



Passenger Focus rail director Ashwin Kumar said: "Passengers understand engineering works are unavoidable.



"The moves we have seen this weekend towards keeping passengers on trains by diverting around engineering works are a positive step but the industry needs to go further and make these initiatives standard practice.



"During engineering works the industry must do more to allow passengers to take alternative routes where time savings can be made, without being charged extra for the privilege."









Upgrade work will affect Tube services this weekend, with the entire Underground Victoria line shut on Saturday and Sunday and the Jubilee line part-closed on Sunday and completely closed on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Jubilee disruption will mean cricket fans travelling to Lord's for the England-Pakistan Test will not be able to use St John's Wood - the nearest station to the ground - for the fourth and fifth days of the match.



Gatwick airport is handling 500,000 passengers in the period from tomorrow to the end of Bank Holiday Monday.



The West Sussex airport's busiest day will be Friday, when around 125,000 people will pass through.



Gatwick's top five destinations for the holiday period are Dalaman in Turkey, Malaga in Spain, Faro in Portugal, Palma in Majorca and Alicante in Spain.



Those not jetting off abroad will have to contend with a weekend of sunshine and showers.



The Press Association's weather division, MeteoGroup, forecast that on Friday the rain across Wales and southern and eastern areas of England would mostly clear to leave sunny spells and the odd shower, although rain could stay across the far south east of England for much of the day.



Showers - some heavy - could hit Scotland on Friday and elsewhere there will be a mixture of sunshine and showers elsewhere.



Saturday is expected to be a day of sunny spells and further scattered showers, with south west England staying the driest and the risk of some longer spells of rain spreading into north west Scotland by evening.





























Upgrade work will affect Tube services this weekend, with the entire Underground Victoria line shut on Saturday and Sunday and the Jubilee line part-closed on Sunday and completely closed on Bank Holiday Monday.

The Jubilee disruption will mean cricket fans travelling to Lord's for the England-Pakistan Test will not be able to use St John's Wood - the nearest station to the ground - for the fourth and fifth days of the match.



Gatwick airport is handling 500,000 passengers in the period from tomorrow to the end of Bank Holiday Monday.



The West Sussex airport's busiest day will be Friday, when around 125,000 people will pass through.



Gatwick's top five destinations for the holiday period are Dalaman in Turkey, Malaga in Spain, Faro in Portugal, Palma in Majorca and Alicante in Spain.



Those not jetting off abroad will have to contend with a weekend of sunshine and showers.



The Press Association's weather division, MeteoGroup, forecast that on Friday the rain across Wales and southern and eastern areas of England would mostly clear to leave sunny spells and the odd shower, although rain could stay across the far south east of England for much of the day.



Showers - some heavy - could hit Scotland on Friday and elsewhere there will be a mixture of sunshine and showers elsewhere.



Saturday is expected to be a day of sunny spells and further scattered showers, with south west England staying the driest and the risk of some longer spells of rain spreading into north west Scotland by evening.













National Express said the most popular destinations for its coaches over the weekend are London, Brighton, Birmingham and Bournemouth.

Insurance company Axa today calculated that, on average, 16 cars would be competing for one parking place at popular destinations this weekend.



The worst spot for demand exceeding supply is Brighton, with one parking space for every 79 cars, while the ratio at Bournemouth is one for every 76 cars.



An Axa poll of 2,000 adults showed that 95% get frustrated with the struggle to find a parking space, with 17% prepared to go the wrong way around a one-way system to grab a spot before someone else.



As many as 20% sit in their car, holding up traffic, while waiting for someone to return and free up a spot, while 2% try to intimidate other drivers to secure a space.



The most impatient parkers are those travelling with friends and the most polite are those on their own.



Another survey - of 3,000 people conducted by insurance company Swinton - showed that a family of four would typically spend £62.40 on drinks and snacks from service stations this weekend.



This includes £32.10 on sandwiches and hot food, £16.80 on drinks and an extra £12.60 on add-ons, including magazines, games to play in the car and sweets for the remainder of the journey.



Also, a survey of 9,000 people by accommodation booking website LateRooms.com showed that 92% would would like to book next Tuesday off work to extend their break, but only 7% would lie to their boss to avoid the office.



But the poll also revealed that as many as 27% of people have lied to get out of a wedding, christening or family event on a bank holiday weekend.

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