Stranded overnight mourners sleeping on empty trains after seeing the Queen's coffin

Watch: Timelapse of London queues to see Queen's coffin

Members of the public who find themselves stranded in London overnight after visiting the Queen's coffin are being allowed to use empty 'welfare trains' to sleep on and stay safe.

Network Rail said all of its stations in London – including King’s Cross, London Victoria, London Waterloo, London Liverpool Street, Charing Cross and Euston – will be open 24 hours a day to provide shelter so people can safely wait for their trains to get home, while many shops, restaurants and toilets will remain open to help passengers stay as comfortable as possible throughout the night.

The rail operator said a small number of trains will also run from some of these stations through the late evening and into the night to help people get home, and some stations will also offer 'welfare trains' - empty passenger trains - so people can at least have shelter and a seat.

The location of these welfare trains are not being advertised as they are a "last resort", meaning customers will be invited to join by station staff with priority given to the elderly and vulnerable.

With hundreds of thousands of people continuing to descend on the capital over the next few days, transport operators are urging people to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journeys.

An image of Britain's Queen Elizabeth is seen as people wait at Green Park London Underground station, following the queen's death, in London, Britain September 13, 2022.    REUTERS/Andrew Boyers
London's transport network is expected to face huge demand over the weekend and on Monday. (Reuters)

Network Rail and Transport for London (TfL) also urged people to not to rush home immediately after the funeral on Monday (19 September) to help ease pressure on tube and rail stations.

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Network Rail chair, said: "We are doing all we can to help people travel to commemorative events, pay their respects and celebrate the extraordinary life of Her Majesty the Queen.

"The railway is going to be extremely busy on Monday particularly on routes into London. This is the biggest public transport operation since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and we’re working closely with all train operators to run extra trains through the day and into the night.

Read more: Mourners say long queue to see the Queen lying in state is ‘worth it’

"To help us provide the best possible experience and avoid lengthy queues at stations we’re asking people not to rush home after the funeral and the processions, but to take their time and experience London on this memorable day.

"Passengers should keep checking with their train operator on Twitter or National Rail Enquiries before travelling home for all the latest train service updates."

People queue to pay respects to Britain's Queen Elizabeth following her death, in London, Britain September 15, 2022. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
People queue to pay respects to Britain's Queen Elizabeth following her death, in London, Britain September 15, 2022. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that three central London Tube stations will be closed on the morning of the Queen’s funeral to prevent overcrowding.

It announced that passengers will be prevented from starting or ending journeys at Westminster, St James’s Park and Hyde Park Corner stations for "most of the morning" on Monday.

The transport body said it "will aim to reopen stations" after the funeral at Westminster Abbey – which will be at around noon – to help people leaving the Westminster area.

Many buses in central London will be diverted due to road closures, and London Victoria coach station will be closed.

TfL suggested that the "best option" for people arriving at mainline railway stations would be to continue their journey on foot rather than try to use public transport.

TfL said it would be taking part in the National Moment of Reflection by observing a one-minute silence at 8pm on Sunday (18 September), with a further national two-minute silence due to take place at around 11.55am on Monday (19 September).

It said buses would pull over if it is safe and practical to do so and will switch their engines off, while London Underground, London Overground, DLR, London Trams and the Elizabeth line will also take part, with announcements made to customers just before the minute silence, though services will continue to run.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 09: Commuters walk past a message by Transport for London displayed at Green Park underground station following the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II in London, United Kingdom on September 09, 2022. On September 08, The Queen, Britain's longest reigning monarch died at Balmoral Castle at the age of 96. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
People are being urged to plan ahead if they go to the capital this weekend. (Getty)

Road closures and bus diversions will continue well into next week as the removal of barriers and other event infrastructure is expected to take several days.

Andy Byford, London's Transport Commissioner, said: "We are working around the clock to ensure that Londoners and visitors using the transport network can safely pay their respects to Her Majesty The Queen as she Lies-in-State at Westminster Hall and ahead of the State Funeral on Monday.

"We have worked extremely closely with our partners to help keep our city moving smoothly over the last week, and I once again urge all our customers to check before they travel and before making their return journey, using the TfL website or TfL Go app.

"It is going to be extremely busy in London on Monday and there may be short notice changes and queues to enter stations as a result of the large number of people travelling.

"We will be running a safe, reliable and frequent service to help ensure that everyone can travel home safely after paying their respects.

"We would encourage people to consider making use of the wide range of facilities open across London for refreshments after the State Funeral. As well as allowing time to continue to pay respects, this will help ensure smoother journeys home for everybody."

Record numbers will flock to London for Queen's funeral on Monday, 19 September. (PA)
Record numbers will flock to London for Queen's funeral on Monday, 19 September. (PA)

Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Southern Trains and Thameslink trains, said a variety of plans were in place to support customers.

A spokesman said: "One point to note is that although Monday will be a bank holiday, we'll be running our full normal Monday service, not the Saturday timetable usually in place on a bank holiday.

"The industry is working together to help as many people as possible to travel to London and pay their respects.

"We already have a very frequent service into London that includes overnight Thameslink trains.

"However, trains and stations are expected to be very busy during the lying-in-state period and actual day of the funeral, so we are advising people to plan ahead, allow plenty of extra time, and to check before they travel."