New measures announced to ease disruption for people travelling home for Christmas

The government has announced plans to help ease disruption for those travelling home to visit family this Christmas.

During the Christmas travel window – 23 to 27 December – a total of 778 miles of roadworks are being cleared to ease congestion for drivers.

Meanwhile, as many scheduled rail upgrades as possible are being postponed to allow 95 per cent of the rail network to remain unaffected by engineering works.

Only works that have been in the planning for years and that cannot be delayed without significant loss of punctuality, safety and reliability, such as the East Coast Upgrade, will go ahead.

Where this is the case, extra road capacity will be in place where demand is greatest.

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Other measures include adding extra train services, plus waiving admin fees to change advance rail tickets.

The government is also working with transport operators to identify priority areas for testing rail workers to enable as many services as possible to keep running as scheduled.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’re working with transport operators to help people see their loved ones, safely.  

“We ask everyone to closely consider their journey, plan and book ahead, be patient, and be considerate of fellow passengers – and particularly staff who have worked so hard all year – by following the guidance carefully, including keeping space and wearing a face covering on public transport.

“The government is also working with the devolved administrations on our plans to ensure we take an aligned approach as far as possible.”

Longer trains will run on Anglo-Scotland and Liverpool routes to increase the number of seats at busy times on the West Coast Main Line.  

Chiltern Railway will also run additional services on the 27 December, and East Midlands Railway will run a full intercity timetable over the Christmas period.

The government has written to all local authorities requesting that they ensure bus services are running reliably over the Christmas period, and that they ensure “winter preparedness” in case of snow, sleet or ice.

Some 70 per cent have confirmed they will modify gritting routes to cover coronavirus testing centres as a priority.

Travellers are being advised to plan and book any travel in advance, to follow public health guidelines and to allow more time for their journey.

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