Off to celebrate? Don’t bank on public transport!
HUNDREDS of thousands of revellers celebrating the royal wedding on Saturday face having their plans ruined by travel chaos.
London mayor Sadiq Khan came under fire yesterday over the decision to shut down large parts of the capital’s transport system on one of its biggest days for years.
Services are set to come under severe strain, with the wedding taking place in Windsor 25 miles away at midday and the FA Cup final at Wembley later in the afternoon. Despite this, Transport for London (TfL) has opted to close most of the Circle and District Lines on the Tube, as well as a long stretch of the London Overground.
This is likely to cause disruption for well-wishers making the trip to Windsor to celebrate the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, as well as for those going to one of the many public parties in parks across London.
Tory MP Steve Double, who sits on the Commons transport committee, said: ‘This is one of the biggest days in London with the FA Cup and the royal wedding. Clearly tens of thousands of people will be wanting to come to London. It is very shortsighted of the mayor to allow these engineering works to take place. They should have planned for this weeks ago. I hope Mr Khan makes the right decision and lifts them at this late stage.’
Mr Khan yesterday indicated he could lift the engineering works after London Assembly members warned they could cause major travel disruption.
He said: ‘If it is the case that maintenance works will cause any problems for travel, they can be moved.’ But last night a source from TfL said the closures are likely to go ahead.
Many councils have scrapped road closure charges to enable residents to hold street parties for the wedding, while the BBC has waived the licence fee for communities wanting to watch the ceremony together.
Caroline Pidgeon, a Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly, said: ‘We should be celebrating that London is open this weekend. Sadly that is not the message that TfL and Network Rail are sending out.’ Tomorrow the Circle Line will be closed between Aldgate and Edgware Road, via Victoria. This will make it harder for those heading to Windsor to get to Paddington station.
The whole of the District Line west of South Kensington will be closed on every branch, as will parts of the Jubilee Line, with replacement buses operating.
Chelsea FC, whose stadium is in the area affected by District Line closures, play Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley at 5.15pm. The London Overground will be closed between Willesden Junction and Clapham Junction.
London Underground said a full service would be running to Wembley and it was working with Network Rail regarding trains to Windsor. It said it was ‘confident’ those wishing to use its services to get to the two events would be able to do so.