August Bank Holiday: Where to avoid on roads and rail

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TrafficImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Most roadworks will be lifted in time for the bank holiday getaway

It is the last bank holiday of the summer and millions of cars will be on the roads. How do you beat the traffic and make the most of the long weekend?

Major work on the railways will mean no trains in or out of London Euston on Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, drivers are being told the vast majority of roadworks on motorways will have been completed or lifted by Friday morning, with work not set to resume until Tuesday.

However, 36 sets of roadworks will stay in place for safety reasons, with some stretching more than 20 miles.

When will be busiest?

According to the RAC, Friday afternoon from about 15:00 to 19:00 is likely to be the busiest as drivers heading off for the weekend mix with the normal commuting traffic.

The busiest day overall will be Monday, with about five million cars on the roads for “leisure trips” as people either go for days out or return from a weekend away.

This is double the number the RAC expected to see on Thursday following a survey of motorists’ plans for the weekend.

The busiest roads are expected to be the M5 towards Exeter; the M6 and then A590 around the Lake District; the M3 towards Bournemouth and the M1 north from London.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “While summer appears to have taken a leave of absence for many of us, our figures suggest drivers are undeterred and are still keen to make the most of the long weekend to spend time with friends and family in the UK.

“We recommend motorists wanting to beat the queues travel outside peak times – so avoid Friday afternoon and evening if you can and try to get away in good time if you are planning a day trip on Monday, or face a long journey home at the end of a summer holiday.”

Where are the roadworks?

Most roadworks on motorways will have been removed by 06:00 BST on Friday.

Highways England, which manages the motorway network, said it would lift or complete about 98% of all work before the bank holiday, freeing up 445 miles of roads.

Those that have stayed in place cannot be removed for safety reasons, the organisation said.

  • 17 miles M1 J19 to J16 near Crick

  • 10 miles M60 J 12 to J18 near Manchester

  • 9 miles M62 J10 near Warrington

  • 9 miles M62 J18 to J20 near Manchester

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Is my train running?

Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption Work will affect services into various stations including Waterloo

Rail engineering works are taking place over the weekend.

  • London Euston – No trains in or out on Saturday or Sunday because of work on High Speed 2 (HS2)
  • London Charing Cross and Cannon Street – No trains due to Thameslink work
  • London Liverpool Street and Shenfield, Ingatestone, Billericay and Barking – No trains on Sunday or Monday due to work on Crossrail
  • London Waterloo – About half of platforms will be closed and an amended South Western Railway Service will run until Sunday
  • Bristol Parkway and Swindon – Trains are being diverted via Bath. There will also be reduced services between London Paddington, Cardiff Central and Swansea.
  • Manchester Airport and Preston/Blackpool North – Trains will be diverted via Eccles and Wigan North Western until Sunday.
  • Bolton – Most services are not operating until Sunday

Francis Paonessa, managing director for infrastructure projects at Network Rail, said: “While our massive investment programme impacts comparatively small parts of the network, on some routes its impact is significant, particularly major routes into London.”

There is no planned work affecting Leeds, which is expected to see thousands of people travelling to the Leeds Festival at Bramham Park over the bank holiday weekend.

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