Off to cel­e­brate? Don’t bank on pub­lic trans­port!

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By James Salmon Trans­port Ed­i­tor

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 ma­jor dis­rup­tion for well-wish­ers mak­ing the short 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 ma­jor 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. It doesn’t make sense ever for there to be main­te­nance works tak­ing place in ad­vance of big events.’ 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.

Nigel Hol­ness, Lon­don Un­der­ground’s di­rec­tor of net­work op­er­a­tions, said a full Tube ser­vices would be run­ning to Wem­b­ley and that it was work­ing with Net­work Rail re­gard­ing trains to Wind­sor. He added: ‘We are con­fi­dent that those wish­ing to use our ser­vices to help get them to these two im­por­tant events will be able to do so.’

‘Should have planned for this’

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