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Rail works and strikes to disrupt August bank holiday travel

Engineering works, including the three-day closure of one of Britain’s busiest stations, are set to disrupt rail travel and add to road congestion over the August bank holiday weekend.

Network Rail urged passengers to check their route before travelling, while motoring organisations said that road traffic would peak on Friday before the busiest weekend of the summer.

London Euston, the terminus for most services to the capital from cities such as Manchester and Birmingham, will be closed for three days as a result of engineering works around a junction at Wembley. Most direct Virgin trains between London and the north-west will be cancelled, with reduced services ending at Milton Keynes.

Track replacement will also cause disruption in the Midlands, with buses replacing some trains to Birmingham international airport, and around Derby, with continuing engineering work.

Network Rail said it would be investing more than £84m in upgrade works over the bank holiday, when the service is usually less busy, and said it would be business as usual for most services. However, it said that as some routes would see significant changes, passengers should plan ahead. Alternative routes out of London on East Coast or Chiltern services are expected to be extremely crowded.

Andy Thomas, Network Rail’s managing director of England and Wales, said: “Thousands of rail workers across Britain will be delivering essential improvements that will lead to faster, better services and help relieve overcrowding, to respond to the huge growth on Britain’s railways.”

Passengers on Northern Rail will see additional disruption as the RMT union stages another 24-hour strike, in an ongoing row about the future of guards on trains.

Industrial action is also set to take place at John Lennon airport in Liverpool, with members of the GMB union who work in firefighting and engineering services due to walk out in a dispute over pay. The airport said the planned strike would not impact passengers.

The AA motoring organisation predicted about 15 million drivers would take leisure journeys from Friday to Monday, and said to expect delays on major routes with traffic peaking on Friday for the getaway and a busy return on Monday. Routes to the south-west and the coast are expected to be the most crowded, the AA said, while other hotspots could form around music festivals including Reading, Leeds and Creamfields in Cheshire.


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