When is the best time to travel by car or train in the UK this Christmas? | Transportation | Daily News Byte

When is the best time to travel by car or train in the UK this Christmas?  |  Transportation

 | Daily News Byte

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It’s that time of year when millions of people will travel to see friends and family, take a well-earned break or make a last-minute dash to the shops to pick up a Christmas present.

The festive holiday may be more difficult than usual this year as Britain is hit by widespread industrial action across the transport network.

Based on the planned strike dates, here’s an indication of when the best time to get away this Christmas might be.

When will the roads be busiest?

The AA will have around 17m cars traveling on December 23 and Christmas Eve and people can expect congestion and long delays – so it’s best to avoid these two days if possible.

A survey of more than 12,000 drivers by the motoring group revealed that Sunday December 18 and Monday December 19 are likely to be the two days with the fewest cars on the road during the Christmas period.

These two days also do not coincide with any strike action that may affect roads or rail, so it would be best to get out early if possible.

Members of the RMT union at Network Rail have planned industrial action from Christmas Eve until December 27 which will mainly affect engineering works.

However, Great Western Railway has warned travelers that the train network will “close early” on December 24 and that industrial action could cause “significant disruption”.

South Western Railway has requested customers to travel on December 24 and 27 only if “absolutely necessary”.

The AA has warned that strike action planned for Christmas Eve “could increase walkouts” as more people take to the streets.

Members of the Public and Commercial Service Union (PCS) who work as control room staff and traffic officers for National Highways will strike in London and the South-East on December 22, 23, 24 and 25.

PCS said the action “risks bringing the road network to a standstill”. National Highways said there would be no road closures as a result of the industrial action and it had “well-rehearsed resilience plans”.

Which roads will be the busiest?

The AA predicts these could be the most congested roads:

  • M25

  • M5 between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare

  • M6 around Birmingham

  • The area of ​​the M1 Smart Motorway north from Luton

  • The M60 and M62 in north-west England

  • The M4 and M27 in Hampshire.

What should you do before you take off by car?

Edmund King, AA president, said “many breakdowns are preventable” and the most important thing is to “check your vehicle before you take off”.

He said: “Tires (including the spare if you have one), fuel, EV range, oil level, coolant and screenwash should be checked at a minimum. Similarly, having water, high-protein food or chocolate, warm clothes, coats and hi-vis jackets will help you keep going even when the weather gets worse.

“While December 23 and Christmas Eve look set to be the busiest travel days, industrial action planned by rail service staff could lead to increased car levels on our roads.”

What about rail?

As mentioned above, strike action may affect services over the Christmas period. However, Network Rail said 95% of the rail network will be open for travel over the festive period.

However, a number of important infrastructure improvements are taking place during the festive period, so travelers should try to plan their journeys in advance.

Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “We have worked closely with our train operators to ensure that the majority of the network remains open for business over the festive period so that people can travel by rail to spend time with their families and friends. can .

“However, some of these major upgrade projects will impact on services, so we ask passengers to plan their journeys before travelling.”

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