Mourners visiting London for Queen’s funeral urged to stay for lunch to avoid travel chaos
Mourners travelling to London by train for the Queen’s funeral are being urged to stay for lunch to avoid overcrowding.
There are fears that a “New Year’s Eve-type mass exodus” after the funeral cortege leaves Westminster will cause severe congestion at Tube and mainline stations, a rail industry source told the PA news agency.
People visiting the city on Monday to pay their respects to the Queen should “take a picnic, spend time in London, raise a glass to Her Majesty and keep reviewing live travel information”, the source added.
A full weekday timetable will operate, with about 250 additional services, including some overnight trains.
Transport for London (TfL) said that most Tube lines will remain open for an additional hour on the night after the funeral, to ensure people can “travel around the capital safely”.
The last services on several lines will leave central London at about 1am, compared with midnight normally.
The rail industry is confident there will be enough capacity to cope with the number of passengers, particularly as there will be few commuters due to Monday being a bank holiday.
Restrictions on the use of off-peak tickets will not apply.
Network Rail said its London stations have seen a 9% increase in usage in recent days compared with the same period last week.
Stationary trains are being used as overnight waiting areas at stations such as King’s Cross and Waterloo.
TfL said nearly 115,000 more Tube journeys were made to or from eight stations in the centre of London on Wednesday compared with the same day last week.
A total of 696,468 entries and exits were recorded at Charing Cross, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, London Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, St James’s Park, Victoria and Westminster stations.
That was up 20% on the total of 581,740 during the previous Wednesday.
National Highways will pause planned closures of motorways serving London until after the funeral.
Martin Fellows, who is leading the organisation’s planning for the mourning period, said he wants to make journeys “as straightforward as possible”.
He told PA: “We’re expecting the roads to be busy throughout the period.
“We’ve deployed extra resources from early (Wednesday) morning, but we will do so right the way through until after the funeral.”
Mr Fellows said some of the worst potential congestion hotspots on motorways are the M25 and roads feeding into London such as the M1, M3, M4, and M11.
He advised motorists to “allow plenty of time for your journey” and make sure their vehicle is “well prepared” as “it will be very frustrating for people to break down if they’re on their way to pay their respects”.
London Victoria coach station and many central London roads will be closed on Monday.
Most National Express coaches due to depart from or arrive at London Victoria will use Wembley Stadium instead, while rival operator Megabus will switch to Hillingdon.
Heathrow Airport’s flights will be disrupted to avoid aircraft disturbing the funeral.
Details have not been announced, but British Airways was forced to axe 16 short-haul flights on Wednesday during the Queen’s coffin procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.
The best videos delivered daily
Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox