Rail strike to disrupt Bank Holiday travel as 14m cars hit the UK roads

Wednesday, August 30, 2023


Holidaymakers and festival goers face disruption this weekend as the latest train strikes threaten to derail Bank Holiday plans.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is staging a strike on Saturday, with 20,000 workers expected to take part, in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

The 14 main train operating companies will be affected, with some being unable to run any services and others operating a significantly reduced timetable.

The strike is likely to cause disruption across Britain for holidaymakers and those travelling to events including London’s Notting Hill Carnival, the Reading and Leeds music festivals and to sports events.

On Friday, thousands of air passengers were affected when British Airways and easyJet cancelled flights to and from Heathrow and Gatwick.

BA cancelled 50 domestic and European flights, to and from destinations including Rome and Copenhagen, citing adverse weather conditions, while easyJet cancelled 10 flights between Gatwick and Edinburgh, Faro, Milan, Nantes and Valencia, leaving passengers stranded overnight.

A BA spokesperson said that like other airlines, due to adverse weather conditions experienced in the London area and across Europe, they have made some minor adjustments to our short-haul schedule.

On the roads, the RAC has said 14 million drivers are planning leisure trips this weekend, an increase of 2 million compared with last year.

Saturday is expected to be the busiest day on the roads, with congestion expected on the routes to popular destinations, including Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and the West Country.

The traffic data firm predicted that the worst delays on Saturday would be on the M5 south between junctions 15 and 23 at about midday as drivers headed to the south-west.

Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst said people in the UK expect this bank holiday weekend to be very busy on major roads, with Friday and Saturday seeing the longest delays compared to normal.

While the most significant delays over the three days are going to be on the M25 and M1, routes to the west will inevitably be badly affected too.

Some sunshine and showers are forecast across much of the UK.

The Met Office’s deputy chief meteorologist, Steven Keates, said while showers are never too far away through the weekend, there will still be drier spells around and where there are breaks in the cloud on Sunday in the south it should feel quite pleasant.

Areas to the south-east will see fewer showers, with more in the way of bright or sunny spells on Saturday and Sunday, though temperatures are likely to remain around average for the time of year.

Drivers in the Aslef union plan to strike on Friday 1 September, and a further RMT strike is planned for Saturday 2 September, which is expected to cause disruption for people returning home from holidays abroad.

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