Eight days of train disruption with 500 engineering projects this weekend

Rail passengers are bracing for eight days of disruption as bank holiday engineering work runs into the next round of industrial action by train drivers. Network Rail said it will carry out 487 planned projects between Saturday and Monday.

The most significant disruption from this work will be on Sunday when no trains will run between London Euston and Milton Keynes, or between Glasgow and England. This is due to engineering schemes on the West Coast Main Line at Crewe, Wigan and other locations.

Train services will also be affected by work in Cambridge, Coventry and Liverpool over the bank holiday period. Network Rail’s system operator director Anit Chandarana said: “The vast majority of the railway will be open for business as normal.

“We know people want to travel by train and not replacement bus, and we do our best to fit as much work as we can into these closures to minimise the impact on passengers and freight customers. “The work this month will see new track laid on one of the busiest mixed-use railways in the world – the West Coast Main Line – along with work to replace worn-out equipment at junctions at Crewe.

“We’ve also got more work to build a new station at Cambridge South, which will play a key role in developing the city and its new biomedical campus in a sustainable way.” Train drivers who are members of the Aslef union at 16 operators will launch a six-day ban on overtime on Monday, which is expected to cause short-notice cancellations.

The unions members will also stage three one-day strikes across different operators between May 7 and 9, meaning some parts of the country will have no rail services on those days. Aslef is embroiled in a near two-year dispute over pay, with no talks held for more than a year.

It emerged on Thursday that the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators, has written to Aslef suggesting informal talks take place which could result in more formal negotiations. Meanwhile, motorists are being warned to expect long delays as millions of people embark on bank holiday getaways.

The RAC said it expects 16 million motorists to make a leisure trip by car between Friday and Monday. Transport analytics company Inrix warned that journeys on most major routes across the South and South West will take an average of 50% longer than usual on Friday afternoon.

Parts of the North West, East Anglia and South West are likely to be hardest hit by traffic returning home on Monday. Drivers wanting to avoid the worst congestion are being urged to travel before 9am or after 5pm throughout the bank holiday period.

Aviation analytics company Cirium said Friday is the busiest day of the year so far for UK airports, with more than 3,000 departures. A total of 8,486 flights are scheduled to depart between Saturday and Monday, equating to more than 1.5 million seats.