Easter Weekend: Rail and road congestion as three million take UK break


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The Independent Online

As millions of Britons will be taking UK breaks over Easter, holiday-makers will be preparing to avoid potential rail and road disruptions that could see them miss all-important family Easter-egg hunts and roast dinners.

Over three million people will take an Easter break in the UK, according to a survey by VisitEngland, and will have to plan journeys around engineering work on the railways that will affect services to and from a number of major termini, including London's Charing Cross, London Bridge, Paddington and King's Cross stations.

London Underground travellers will also face some disruption this Easter. Sections of the Bakerloo, District, Jubilee and Piccadilly lines as well as part of the London Overground will be shut at some times over the holidays while improvement work is carried out.

Southampton Central and Sheffield are among other major stations where services will be affected over the weekend.

Traffic information company Trafficmaster and the AA have forecast as many as 16 million cars will be on the move over the holiday, with drivers from Northern Ireland the most likely to get behind the wheel and Scots the least likely to do so.

The worst-affected congestion hot-spots in south east and south west England will be twice as busy over Easter as during non-holiday periods, according to information company Inrix.

Meanwhile, those attempting to dodge congestion in the UK will be jetting off abroad. 370,000 passengers will leave from Heathrow airport, 200,000 from Gatwick, 120,000 from Stansted, 60,000 from Luton and 4,500 from Bournemouth.

Popular foreign destinations include: Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Rome and New York, according to UK travel organisation Abta.

Thousands will also take ferry services to the continent, while Channel Tunnel high-speed train company Eurostar is expecting to carry more than 130,000 passengers over the holiday weekend - a 15% increase on numbers at Easter 2013.

Commenting on the main line disruption, rail industry body the Railway Delivery Group said work was planned carefully to ensure the vast majority of passengers were not disrupted.

Additional reporting by PA