How will UK and London travel be affected by the Queen's funeral? | The Independent

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The death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III have no parallel in modern times for the UK.

The Queen’s funeral on 19 September will see disruption across a wide range of transport.

These are the key questions and answers.

Where will travel be most affected?

Central London. Her Majesty is lying in state in Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster in central London until 6.30am on Monday 19 September.

Parts of central London are closed to normal traffic, with many bus routes curtailed. While the Tube is running normally, some station access points are closed.

On the afternoon of the funeral, there will be extensive road closures between central London and Windsor.

Air traffic restrictions will be in place at Heathrow; normally flights arrive over central London and take off over Windsor, where the Queen will be interred. Around 200 flights have been cancelled to and from Heathrow Airport as a result.

What’s happening on the railways?

Despite Monday being a bank holiday, the normal full weekday train service will be provided. Cheaper off-peak fares are available all day.

Several rail operators are laying on extra services, including some through the night, up to and including the day of the funeral, to allow as many people as possible to travel to the capital to pay their respects.

The time when crowds are expected to be at their largest at stations is on Monday afternoon, when leaving London after the funeral. Passengers who delay their journey home are likely to experience a more comfortable journey.

GWR, which runs trains from South Wales and the West of England to London Paddington, has added an hourly link from the capital to Swindon, Bath and Bristol on Monday night/Tuesday morning.

East Midlands Railway has the same same plan from London St Pancras to Leicester and Derby.

“Welfare trains” are being provided overnight at stations including London Marylebone, St Pancras and King’s Cross: empty trains parked at platforms to allow people to rest comfortably, with refreshment facilities nearby. No tickets are required.

What about public transport in London?

Transport for London (TfL) is warning of “unprecedented travel demand in the capital”.

On Saturday six Tube staions experienced passenger numbers well in excess of the corresponding day in 2019: Bermondsey (the closest to Southwark Park, where the queue for paying respects at the lying-in-state begins), Charing Cross, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, St James’s Park and Westminster.

Travellers and commuters in London have been asked to avoid Green Park Tube station, the closest to Buckingham Palace, walking instead from other nearby stations such as Victoria or Piccadilly Circus.

Green Park, the closest Tube stop to Buckingham Palace, will be exit and interchange only on Monday and Tuesday, 19 and 20 September, between the hours of 10am and 8pm.

St James’ Park, Westminster and Hyde Park Corner stations will be closed “for much of Monday morning” to prevent overcrowding.

Meanwhile, the Elizabeth line will run a special service with 12 trains per hour on its central London section (Paddington-Abbey Wood) during Sunday 18 September; normally it is closed on Sundays.

Buses serving central London are widely disrupted, usually starting and ending their journeys outside the Westminster area.

Walking and cycling in the Westminster area is heavily restricted, and most journeys are taking two or three times longer than usual.

I have a flight booked over the next few days. Will it operate?

Many flights to and from Heathrow on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday have been cancelled.

There will be a general ban on flying over central London during the Queen’s funeral. On a normal day aircraft come in to land at Heathrow just to the south of Westminster, creating a significant amount of noise.

The airport is telling passenger: “As a mark of respect for the solemnity of this sad and unique occasion, operations at the airport will be subject to alterations to avoid noise disturbance during the state funeral.

  • 1140 – 1210: no aircraft movements to support the two-minute silence at the conclusion of Her Majesty’s funeral
  • 1345 – 1420: no arrivals to support the procession of Her Majesty’s hearse
  • 1505 – 1645: no departures to support the ceremonial procession via the Long Walk to Windsor Castle
  • 1645 – 2100: we will operate a reduced departure rate to support the committal service at St George’s Chapel”

British Airways has cancelled 100 flights to and from Heathrow on Monday; it says these are 50 round-trips on short-haul routes which have plenty of departures from the UK.

Around 100 other Heathrow services are cancelled between Sunday and Tuesday; Virgin Atlantic has cancelled or re-timed four flights, while Aer Lingus has grounded eight flights between the UK and Ireland or Northern Ireland.

United Airlines has cancelled Sunday night flights from Boston, Chicago, Denver, New York and San Francisco, due to arrive on Monday.

Other long-haul cancellations include Etihad from and to Abu Dhabi and Kenya Airways from and to Nairobi.

Some flights will be delayed to avoid the spells of closure. For example, the American Airlines flight 81 from Heathrow to Dallas-Fort Worth is due to leave at 5pm, almost two hours late.

A spokesperson for London City airport said: “During the state funeral, London City flights will not fly over Westminster out of respect for the funeral service for Her Majesty the Queen.

“We are working closely with our airlines to operate a normal schedule on the day and if there are any changes to flight times, passengers will be notified by their airlines.”

Disruption is not expected at other London airports – though the departure of heads-of-state flights from Stansted, particular US AIr Force One carrying President Biden, could cause some delays.

There will be changes to some flights on Glasgow-based Loganair. The carrier says: “As a mark of respect, we are working with our airport and service partners to ensure we have no scheduled flying during the funeral itself.

“This is to allow our staff the option of being able to watch the state funeral and for Loganair as a team to demonstrate our deep respect to Her Majesty.”

What about coach travel?

Both National Express and Megabus have laid on extra coaches to meet a surge in demand for people wanting to travel to and from London for the state funeral.

On the day of the funeral Victoria Coach Station (VCS) will be closed from 2am on Monday because of its proximity to the funeral in Westminster Abbey.

The last National Express arrival into VCS on Sunday night/Monday morning is from Weymouth at 12.20am, and the last departure is to Weston-super-Mare at 1am. These will also be the first arrivals and departures at VCS when operations resume shortly after midnight on Tuesday morning.

During the closure of the central London hub, almost all National Express services will move to Wembley Stadium, northwest of central London. Departures will be from the green car park; arrivals into pink car park.

Links from Dover and Ramsgate will start and end at Stratford in east London, while airport services – the A1 to Luton and A6 to Stansted – will serve Baker Street.

Timings will remain the same as printed on tickets.

Megabus services will operate to and from Hillingdon Underground station, five miles north of Heathrow airport . The company says: “Customers will then need to use either the London Underground Uxbridge branch of the Metropolitan or Piccadilly lines or the Oxford Tube coach service which departs from Hillingdon for onwards travel into central London.”

The last Megabus arrival into VCS on Sunday night is 10pm, with later arrivals that evening dropping off at Baker Street.

Normal operations will resume on Tuesday morning.


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