Avoid travel at weekends over the summer holidays, rail operators warn

·2-min read

Holidaymakers planning to travel by rail this summer are being urged not to travel over the weekend if at all possible to avoid overcrowding on popular routes and services.

The country’s biggest rail operators have warned weekends are likely to be extremely busy, with routes to coastal areas and other popular tourist spots particularly busy.

Planned engineering work scheduled for August will add to busy services, operators have warned.

International travel restrictions plus a recent spate of good weather means more Brits are planning to stay in the UK this summer holidays putting more pressure on services.

Like many other sectors, transport has also been hit by staffing issues due to the so-called “pingdemic” - or workers being told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

Train travel has been virtually decimated by the pandemic - with the busiest weekend of the year so far recording passenger numbers of just 52 per cent on 10 and 11 July. But with school holidays now underway, trains are expected to continue to get busier.

A spokesperson for Network Rail told The Independent: “Essential maintenance and upgrade work is always planned for times that minimise disruption for passengers as much as possible, traditionally meaning holidays and weekends.

“Travel patterns have obviously shifted over the past year or so and we will carefully monitor how this evolves as restrictions ease and more people return to workplaces. Our approach to scheduling works will be based on this longer-term picture.”

GWR, Avanti West Coast and Avanti West Coast all told the Independent passengers should avoid Friday, Saturday and Sunday travel - with Monday also highlighted as a busy day.

LNER are preparing for a busy Bank Holiday weekend in particular and are suggesting passengers book a seat when they travel.

A spokesperson for CrossCountry Trains said: “Reservation levels currently indicate that the West Midlands to Manchester and West Midlands to the southwest are likely to be the busiest parts of the network at weekends, with most passengers making journeys southbound towards Exeter and Plymouth on Fridays and Saturdays and returning on Sundays and Mondays.”

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