Welcome to a weekend of train delays and traffic gridlock

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The Independent Online

Extensive rail repairs will force an additional five million motorists on to the roads this weekend, causing even more congestion than usual on an August bank holiday.

Extensive rail repairs will force an additional five million motorists on to the roads this weekend, causing even more congestion than usual on an August bank holiday.

Three of the busiest railway lines - the East Coast from London to Edinburgh, the track between London and South Wales and the route from London to Birmingham - will be closed. The disruption will cause a 30 per cent increase in traffic congestion, AA Roadwatch is predicting.

Drivers may face gridlock on the M1 due to the Leeds Festival at Bramham Park, as well as on the M4 between London and Wales, for those who are travelling to the Reading Rock Festival and Cardiff, for the England-Wales rugby union international. The Creamfields Dance Festival at Old Liverpool Airport, Speke, will affect travel on the M62. In London, there will be road closures and possible delays for the Notting Hill Carnival tomorrow and Monday.

With the weather forecast good, large numbers of day-trippers will visit coastal hotspots. All in all, there will be a "prolonged rush-hour effect for three days", the AA. says

Rebecca Rees, a spokes-woman, urged motorists to plan journeys and prepare for delays. "Traffic volumes could be high, so we would encourage people to leave as early as possible to beat the queues especially if travelling to an organised event." The AA s breakdown service has 100 extra patrols on the roads for the 50,000 breakdowns predicted.

Those travelling by train to Reading from London will have to rely on a reduced service from Paddington. Extra trains have been scheduled from Waterloo, adding 40 minutes to the normal journey. Ongoing local rail works will affect a number of other services all weekend, including those between Leeds and Harrogate.

Services between London and Stansted airport will be disrupted today, and Virgin trains from London to Birmingham New Street will be diverted around Coventry and Birmingham International until Sunday.

The Association of British Travel Agents estimates that 1.6 million Britons would be heading overseas this Bank Holiday weekend.

In addition, Eurostar, the Channel Tunnel high-speed train company, was expecting to take 60,000 people to the Continent, and a further 320,000 people were heading for France and Spain either by ferry or by Channel Tunnel shuttle services.

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