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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 16:29 GMT
Easter getaway problems predicted
Passengers stuck at Euston
Passengers will face major disruption on the rail network
Extensive roadworks and engineering work on the railways are likely to cause severe difficulties to people trying to get away for an Easter break.

The Highways Agency says it is removing two thirds of works, but many remain.

They will involve the M1, M4, M5, M6, M11, M25, M42, M48, M55, M56, M57, M60, M62, M65, M69 and many more A roads.

On the rails, there will be closures on the West Coast, East Coast and South West main lines. Services to Essex and East Anglia will also be disrupted.

"Easter is always one of our busiest periods of the year, but this Easter's getaway is expected to be more intense as motorists shun foreign travel in favour of domestic driving holidays," Neil Thompson of the RAC said.

'Nightmare' Thursday

"This, combined with the short break for Easter will lead to a nightmare Maundy Thursday for motorists especially if the bad weather hits."

M25 traffic jam
The Highways Agency says it is removing two thirds of roadworks

A cold snap is expected to arrive in the UK on Thursday, with temperatures below zero, especially in Scotland, according to Julian Mayes, senior forecaster with MeteoGroup.

"It's going to be getting windy on Thursday and Good Friday, and there will be showers which might turn wintry. There will be quite a wind chill with this northerly wind", he said.

If the weather conditions are bad, motorists are advised to only make journeys that are necessary.

If they must travel, they should ensure they carry spare warm clothes, food and drink and keep mobile phones charged in case of emergency.

Less foreign travel

The RAC says it has conducted research which shows the credit crunch is taking its toll this Easter. It says 43% of motorists are less likely to travel abroad this Easter compared with last year.

The national tourism agency Visit Britain is predicting an increase in motorists on the roads this Easter holiday.

"The current economic outlook could mean British resorts are bracing themselves for bumper visitor numbers this Easter, Tom Wright, chief executive of VisitBritain, said.

"Families with school-age children have only four days to enjoy their Easter break this year so we're going to experience a concentrated few days of domestic travel."

Replacement bus service at Rugby
Replacement buses will fill gaps in local services

This year, Easter falls outside many school holidays, and this is expected to mean that traffic is more concentrated; with midday on Maundy Thursday pinpointed by the RAC as the time when roads will be at their most congested.

Traffic is also expected to be heavy late on Easter Monday as families head back for the start of school on Tuesday 25 March.

Rail disruption

Network Rail says it will be working on more than 30 projects over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

"We are making improvements, including laying new track, repairing bridges and updating signalling systems", Network Rail said.

It said it was doing the work at Easter, because fewer people would be travelling than during the week.

The rail watchdog Passenger Focus is warning rail users to plan ahead to avoid the disruption.

"Passengers recognise the works are necessary for delivering improvements to their service", chief executive Anthony Smith said.

"However, Network Rail must keep its promises and complete work on schedule."

The Association of Train Operating Companies (Atoc) reports that the West Coast Main Line will be closed from Good Friday to Easter Monday between Coventry, Rugby and Northampton and from London Euston on Saturday until Easter Monday.

No intercity services will operate from London Euston from Good Friday. Local train services will operate between London Euston and Northampton only on Good Friday. Local services will be replaced by buses at other times.

There will be engineering works on the East Coast Main Line from 1400 GMT on Easter Saturday to 1400 GMT on Easter Sunday, when services between London King's Cross, the North East of England and Scotland will be diverted via Leeds due to work between Doncaster and York.

Virgin train
Virgin Trains to the North will start and terminate in the Midlands

The Great Western Main Line services between Didcot Parkway, Swindon and Chippenham will be disrupted from Good Friday to Easter Monday, with trains being replaced by a bus service or diverted.

Services from London Waterloo on the South West Main Line will be subject to alterations and diversions due to major engineering works taking place at Clapham Junction between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Services to East Anglia and the Essex coast from London's Liverpool Street will also be disrupted between Good Friday and Easter Monday with a bus replacement service operating between Gidea Park, Billericay and Ingatestone.

On Easter Sunday and Easter Monday other services to/from Liverpool Street will operate to alternative timetables.

Scotrail

In Scotland, extensive engineering work is due to start on Saturday 22 March, between Glasgow Queen Street and Aberdeen, Dunblane, Edinburgh, Inverness and Stirling.

On Sunday 23 March, work begins on the lines from Edinburgh to Stirling and Perth, and from Glasgow Central to Largs, Air, Perth, Stranraer and Androssan Harbour.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Details of the rail disruptions



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