Easter travel: Where to avoid on roads and rail

Media caption,
How do you avoid holiday traffic jams?

Rail engineering work is set to add to bank holiday traffic jams as people get away for the Easter weekend.

More than 400 sets of works take place across the network over the weekend with rail services replaced by buses.

Almost all motorways and A-roads are due to be free of roadworks by Thursday but 30 sets will stay in place for safety reasons.

Thursday will be the busiest day as three million "leisure" journeys mix with normal commuter traffic.

Highways England, which is in charge of motorways and major A-roads, said it would finish or lift roadworks on 99% of the network by 06:00 BST on Thursday.

However, drivers will still have to navigate nearly 12 miles of 50mph speed limits on the M6 near Coventry and 10 miles of narrow lanes on the M4 near Reading.

Only "essential works" would be left in place and those that it could not remove "due to safety reasons", Highways England said.

Customer service director Melanie Clarke said: "We're doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible this Easter and that's why we're keeping 99 per cent of the road network we manage free from roadworks."

Longest roadworks staying in place over Easter

  • M6 Junction 2 to 4, near Coventry - Narrow lanes and 50mph speed limit - 11.8 miles
  • M4 junctions 12 to 13, near Reading - Narrow lanes and reduced speed limit - 10 miles
  • M6 junction 8 to M5 junction 3, near Oldbury, West Midlands - Reduced speed limit - 7 miles
  • A64 Bramham, West Yorkshire to Askham Bryan, York - Narrow lanes and 40mph speed limit - 5 miles
  • A1 Leeming to Barton at junction 52, Catterick, North Yorkshire - Narrow lanes and 50mph speed limit - 4 miles
  • M4 junctions 8 to 11, near Reading - Narrow lanes and reduced speed limit - 3 miles
  • A1(M) junctions 59 to 60, County Durham - Narrow lanes and 50mph speed limit - 3 miles
  • M5 junction 5 to 4a (northbound), near Bromsgrove, West Midlands - Reduced speed limit - 2.6 miles
  • A45 Chowns Mill to Irchester, near Wellingborough - Narrow lanes and 50mph speed limit - 2.5 miles
  • M621 junctions 1 to 7, Leeds - Narrow lanes and 30mph speed limit - 2.5 miles
Image source, Getty Images

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: "Between Thursday and bank holiday Monday our data indicates around a million more confirmed leisure journeys by car than in 2017."

The motoring group surveyed 3,258 motorists and predicted the routes likely to face the biggest jams would include those to coastal destinations such as Brighton and Great Yarmouth.

It said rail engineering works would have an impact with more traffic than a usual bank holiday around Bristol and "buses carrying rail passengers in some parts of the north west, south west and east of England".

Predicted Easter traffic hotspots

  • M25 between Gatwick Airport and M1
  • M3 south west of London
  • M4 west of London and between Cardiff and Swansea
  • A23/M23 to Brighton
  • A47 Swaffham to Great Yarmouth
  • M4/M5 around Bristol
  • M5 from Bristol to Taunton
  • A303 Stonehenge
  • A30 and A38 Exeter to Cornwall
  • M55 between Preston and Blackpool
  • A14 between the Midlands and the coast
  • A66 between M6 and the coast
  • M53 between Liverpool and Chester
  • A55 North Wales Expressway, Chester to Bangor

Source: RAC

Rail engineering work

Image source, GWR
Image caption,
Replacement bus services will run from Bristol Temple Meads around the West Country

Rail passengers face amended timetables and station closures as more than 400 engineering works take place over the bank holiday, when fewer people tend to travel.

There will also be a strike affecting South Western Railway services.

The RMT union is taking industrial action from 00:01 on Friday 30 March until 23:59 on Monday 2 April in a dispute over guards' safety.

Network Rail is advising people to check with National Rail Enquiries before they travel.

The work includes:

  • Bristol Temple Meads - Closed from Friday to Tuesday 3 April with no trains running through it
  • London Euston - No long distance trains on Easter Sunday but Underground services will still run
  • Manchester Victoria - Closed from Friday to Monday
  • Hull - Replacement buses to and from Selby from Saturday to Monday
  • Liverpool - London Northwestern Railway services start and end at Crewe

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