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Monday, 20 August 2018

Britons will be hit by 'perfect storm' of travel chaos over three-day Bank Holiday weekend due to 400 rail works, roadworks and airport strikes

9,600 Network Rail workers will carry out more than 400 works costing £84m
Britain's fifth busiest station London Euston will be closed for whole weekend
Works will also affect Derby, Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester and Preston
Air passengers face trouble after Liverpool John Lennon staff voted to strike

Britons going on a bank holiday getaway face a 'perfect storm' of transport chaos thanks to major train stations being closed, airport strikes and roadworks.
One of the biggest ever August bank holiday rail engineering schedules will see 9,600 Network Rail workers carry out more than 400 works costing £84million.
Britain's fifth busiest station London Euston will be closed for the whole weekend, with west coast main line passengers told to avoid all but essential rail travel.
Other towns and cities which will be affected by works this weekend include Derby, Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester, Wigan, Preston and Blackburn.
Meanwhile Highways England said 300 miles of roadworks will be lifted for the weekend, but they will still be in place on 3 per cent of motorways and A-roads.
And Highways England roadworks lists showed more than 150 sets of roadworks caused delays of more than 30 minutes, clogging roads last week. 
Meanwhile holidaymakers flying out from the North West face chaos after staff at Liverpool John Lennon Airport voted to strike for 36 hours over a pay offer.
The move by the GMB union means 80 workers from firefighting services, control room, engineering and airport bird control will walk out during the weekend.
There are also fears of more two hour-plus passport control queues at London Heathrow Airport for non-European passengers, as happened last month.
Network Rail is urging West Coast main line passengers to avoid all but essential rail travel to and from the capital over the three weekends due to the problems at London Euston
Network Rail is urging West Coast main line passengers to avoid all but essential rail travel to and from the capital over the three weekends due to the problems at London Euston
There will be buses on some routes between Manchester and Wigan North Western / Preston / Blackburn from Saturday to next Friday due to engineering works
There will be buses on some routes between Manchester and Wigan North Western / Preston / Blackburn from Saturday to next Friday due to engineering works
Travel expert Ian Baldry said: 'It's a perfect storm of travel problems combining for the bank holiday weekend. This is the worst-ever summer for UK travel problems.'
It's a perfect storm of travel problems combining for the bank holiday weekend. This is the worst-ever summer for UK travel problems
Ian Baldry, travel expert
Mr Baldry, the owner of IBPTS travel consultants, added: 'Rail engineering works are taking place over three weekends. Add in strikes, timetable change chaos and hot weather delays.
'Fare rises are the cherry on the cake. Passengers are fuming. Rail works are forcing more people onto roads, worsening road congestion, while roadworks affect holidaymakers and commuters.'
Euston is being closed for three consecutive weekends, with no trains to or from the London station the weekend just gone, August 25-27 and September 1-2.
The £200 million investment to transform the track and signalling through the Derby station area will continue over the bank holiday weekend
The £200 million investment to transform the track and signalling through the Derby station area will continue over the bank holiday weekend
It is part of an upgrade plan, which includes Network Rail replacing North Wembley junction - a major intersection on Europe's busiest mixed-use railway.

This weekend's train trouble at a glance 

  • No trains to/from London Eustonfrom Saturday 25 to Monday 27
  • Buses on some routes between Manchester and Wigan North Western / Preston Blackburn from Saturday 25 to Friday 31
  • Amended service at Birmingham International and Coventry from Saturday 25 August until 12pm on Monday 27 August
  • Major project to improve the track and signalling at Derby
  • Martin Frobisher, managing director for the London North Western route, said: 'There is never an ideal time to shut the railway but these three weekends are the least disruptive times to do it.
'We have worked together for the past three years with train operators to carefully plan this closure of the railway in a way that minimises impact on customers.
'It's vital the track at North Wembley is replaced to continue to safely meet the huge demand of passenger and freight rail services on the West Coast main line. This work will result in better, more reliable journeys in future.'
Peter Broadley, executive director for customer, operations and safety at Virgin Trains on the West Coast line, said: 'With no services in to or out of Euston we strongly advise our customers to avoid travelling to London on the days affected.
'We know this will impact on people's travel plans, particularly over a bank holiday weekend, so we encourage customers to plan ahead and where possible travel at other times.'
There will be a replacement of track near Coventry, intending to improve service reliability
There will be a replacement of track near Coventry, intending to improve service reliability
While trains are not running out of Euston, alternative options include rail replacement buses and tickets being valid on other reasonable journeys.
Bruce Williamson, a spokesman for campaign group Railfuture, said: 'It's undeniable that rail passengers will be frustrated by summer's engineering works, cancelled trains, fare rises and strikes.'
It's undeniable that rail passengers will be frustrated by summer's engineering works, cancelled trains, fare rises and strikes
Bruce Williamson, Railfuture
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail firms, said: 'Improvement work is timed to minimise disruption and will enable thousands more services to run each week by the early 2020s.'
Andy Thomas, Network Rail's managing director of England and Wales, said: 'This bank holiday weekend, thousands of rail workers across Britain will be delivering essential improvements that will lead to faster, better services and help relieve over-crowding to respond to the huge growth on Britain's railways. 
'While it will be business as usual on most of the network, we urge all passengers to check before they travel.'

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