Millions of Britons are facing a turbulent Easter weekend with record numbers of cars, major rail disruptions and long queues at ferry terminals. and airport.

The RAC says drivers are collectively planning more than 21 million recreational car journeys this weekend despite soaring fuel costs.

This is the highest number since the organization first started tracking drivers’ plans in 2014. The busiest day is set for Good Friday, followed by Easter Monday.

Gasoline and diesel supplies at gas stations in some areas of the country are running at half their normal levels.

Gasoline stocks at garages in the east of England averaged 19% as of April 10, with south-east England recording 21% and London 22%, down from the pre-pandemic average of 40%.

The size of the Easter getaway on the tracks is likely to be increased by the closure of key sections of the West Coast main rail line – one of 530 engineering projects of the Easter Rail Network. was born at a total cost of £83 million.

Most Manchester City and Liverpool supporters are expected to drive to Wembley to watch Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final.

Passengers line up to check in for the Eurostar international rail service at London St Pancras, April 14

(Reuters)

According to traffic data service Inrix, the busiest locations are likely to be on the M6 ​​northbound between Warrington and the Lake District; southbound M6 towards Stoke-on-Trent; M25 gun between the M23 for Gatwick and the M40 junction for Oxford, joining the M3 and M4 junctions; and the A303 near Stonehenge.

The road network in Kent was also disrupted by the closure of a critical 20-mile stretch of the M20 for lorries attempting to reach France by tunnel or ferry.

P&O Ferries, which suspended operations on the Dover-Calais route four weeks ago, will not resume sailing after two of its ships were seized for further inspection by the Maritime and Coast Guard. safe.

Aviation data company Cirium says 9,212 flights with 1.6 million seats are expected to depart from UK airports between Good Friday and Easter Monday. Flight numbers accounted for 78% of all flights for Easter 2019, before the coronavirus crisis hit travel.

RAC transport spokesman Rod Dennis said: “While we are expecting the highest number of Easter holiday trips by car on Friday – around 4.6 million – it is clear that some drivers wanted to escape early before the bank holiday.

“As with the closure of the coastal M20 for Operation Brock Zero, previous collisions are causing problems on the south-east M25 and the roads connected to it, as well as on the A303 in Wiltshire.

“From an analytics perspective, we see high demand for our services across the north of England, particularly around the Lake District, as well as the west Wales coastal areas.”

National Highways said there was a 90-minute delay near the Dartford Tunnel in Kent on Thursday. There was also a 30-minute delay due to the M18 being closed in South Yorkshire.

Elsewhere, images on social media showed crowds of people waiting at Tui’s check-in desk at Manchester Airport, with other customers saying they had to wait 90 minutes to collect their luggage.

A Tui spokesperson said: “We can confirm that unfortunately due to a staff shortage at Manchester Airport today, some customers are experiencing longer queues than usual while checking in. customary.

“Rest assured that our teams are working as quickly as possible.”

One passenger, Lukasz Ceglecki, from Burton upon Trent, said that despite the long queue, they were moving “relatively quickly”.

Another, Adam Francis, said on Twitter: “Wonderful sight in terminal 2 at manairport when cleaners were the only ones to give any information as to why we weren’t. bag after 90 minutes.

“Even then she didn’t know when we would get them.”

Manchester Airport says passengers should arrive three hours before their flight and thoroughly check their carry-on baggage.

Meanwhile, those at Birmingham Airport reported hours-long queues for security, despite paying £4 per person for fast track services.

Joe Clifford, who was flying to Malaga in Spain, told the PA news agency it took him about an hour to get through security because of the “very long queue”.

Dozens of British Airways and EasyJet flights to and from Heathrow and Gatwick have been cancelled.

Rail passengers have also been warned of delays as Network Rail undertakes 530 engineering projects with a total cost of £83 million.

This includes the closure of the West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Milton Keynes for four days from Good Friday due to an upgrade to the existing line and operational HS2.

Portions of the rail line between Birmingham International and Coventry stations will also be closed, as will lines around Crewe station.

Those in London St Pancras said there were already long lines waiting for services to arrive in Europe on Thursday morning.

A passenger arriving in France said he had been waiting for more than an hour due to a lack of staff.

A West Ham fan preparing for his team’s Europa League second leg against Lyon said there had been “carnage” at the station.

P&O Ferries’ Dover-Calais sailings were also suspended, with large numbers of trucks lined up on roads approaching the Port of Dover.

A company spokesperson said: “We are deeply sorry to all customers whose scheduled cruise with us between Dover and Calais was canceled while we were unable to sail.

“It is only fair and right that we make alternative arrangements for those customers, including transferring them to our Hull-Europoort service to Rotterdam, or booking them on services with Brittany Ferry. between Portsmouth and Caen.”

It said this would charge customers no additional fees, with mileage costs refundable and a 25% reduction in initial fees.

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