Three days’ strike at Heathrow Airport, transport chaos at London

 Thursday, May 4, 2023 


Road closures which threaten to cause transport chaos across London began this week as preparation and rehearsals for the coronation started.

It comes as hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend on the city for the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday.

Already disruption has been caused to motorists on Tuesday and Wednesday from environmental activists holding demonstrations.

On Wednesday, they brought traffic to a standstill at Parliament Square and in Waterloo.

The protest group has warned it will be holding numerous demonstrations in the run up to the coronation which are expected to add to the travel disruption.

Roads around the coronation route began to be closed overnight on Tuesday to allow the military to practice. They will be closed again from 7pm on Friday until no later than 9pm on Saturday.

Anti-monarchy group Republic has revealed its plans for the day of King Charles’ Coronation.

At least 1,700 people will gather for a demonstration in Trafalgar Square on Saturday, wearing yellow T-shirts and carrying placards in groups along the procession route.

Passengers at Heathrow Airport could also experience delays when three days of strike action by security guards begins on Thursday.

Andy Lord, London’s transport commissioner, is urging people to use public transport to get around the city where possible at the weekend.

Public transport remains the best way to travel in London during the coronation weekend and is at the heart of making this historic occasion a success, just like it did when London saw the 1953 coronation of [Queen] Elizabeth II, he said.

With no planned engineering closures, I hope people make the most of the public transport options to enjoy the bank holiday.

In the centre of London barriers will be in place and road closures on the procession route which will see the king taken from Buckingham Palace, along The Mall, through Admiralty Arch, south of King Charles I Island and Trafalgar Square, down Whitehall, Parliament Street, to the east and south side of Parliament Square and into Broad Sanctuary before arriving at the Westminster Abbey.

There will be large crowds in London on May 6. You should plan ahead and allow plenty of time to get to and from your destination, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said.

Anyone wishing to travel to central London is strongly advised to use public transport, avoiding travelling by road, and should consider that they may need to take alternative routes.

Roads and public transport services within the event footprint will be very busy.

Some stations may be subject to temporary closures at short notice, for safety reasons.

Some bus routes will also be on diversion, due to road closures and roads and public transport services located within the immediate vicinity of the event footprint are also expected to be very busy.

Also, St James’s Park Underground Station will be closed on May 6.

Three days of strike action to take place at Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport says it has robust contingency plans in place for the strike days when 1,400 security guards will be taking industrial action.

Passengers can expect to travel as normal during the coronation and half-term peaks, regardless of further unnecessary strike action by Unite, it said.

Rail company GWR is warning people to leave plenty of time for their journeys.

An event not seen since 1953, it is expected that hundreds of thousands of people will travel to London for the coronation ceremony on Saturday, it said.

Network Rail is putting on extra staff at stations at the weekend to help direct passengers attending the coronation.

The railway is open for passengers during the coronation, it said.

The vast majority of Britain’s railway will be open as usual during the coronation. There are no railway line closures into any of the major London stations.

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