Travel advice for half term

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Heading off on a half-term holiday? Being aware in advance of any potential travel disruption can make your journey a whole lot less painful. There are be few things more frustrating than being stuck in a traffic jam when your break should have started, or if you’re rushing to catch a plane or ferry. And it’s even worse if you’ve got impatient young children in tow. So it pays to plan ahead and check for any planned road works before leaving home…

Highway Star

The Highways Agency is a good place to start, as it provides live traffic information via its website. It is currently reminding motorists heading to Dover or Gatwick this half-term that they’ll need to allow extra time thanks to roadworks on the A2 and M23. There’s a lane close in both directions on the M23 between the M25 and Gatwick, and the coastbound A2 will be closed between Canterbury and the M2 from 8pm on Friday October 24 until 6am on Monday October 27. Thanks, guys! Nice timing! The Agency’s site has plenty of other information about potential travel disruption on the roads. You can enter the dates when you’re travelling, and the region you’ll be in, to find out if your travel plans will be affected. For example, the A14 westbound will be closed between junctions J24 Godmanchester and J23 Huntingdon due to roadworks between 10pm and 5am until November 1, so if you will be travelling on this road, make sure you drive outside these hours, or think about a different route.

Train in the Distance

If you’re travelling by train this half-term, check the Network Rail website for any upcoming engineering works which could disrupt or delay your journey. This link shows how services are running both now and in future. For example, engineering work is taking place over some parts of the Thameslink network from October 27 until October 31, with buses replacing trains between Brighton and Three Bridges at certain times. The Network Rail site includes work affecting London Underground. This Saturday and Sunday October 25 and 26, for example, no trains will run on the Circle Line between Gloucester Road and Aldgate, while no trains will run on the District Line between Turnham Green and Richmond, and also between South Kensington and Aldgate East. You can find further details about changes to rail routes and the impact it will have on your journey timings at the National Rail Enquiries if you use the site’s journey planner.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

If you’re heading overseas by plane, make sure you check whether your flight is on time before you leave home. You can usually find details of any delays on the relevant airport’s website. Links to the major UK airports are shown here: Gatwick Airport: www.gatwickairport.com/flights Heathrow Airport: www.heathrowairport.com/flight-information Birmingham Airport: www.birminghamairport.co.uk/arrivals-and-departures.aspx Edinburgh Airport: www.edinburghairport.com/flights Manchester Airport: www.manchesterairport.co.uk/flightinformation Bristol Airport: www.bristolairport.co.uk/ Newcastle Airport: www.newcastleairport.com/arrivals-departures

Like a Hurricane

Remember to allow extra time for travel in hazardous weather conditions. Earlier this week (Oct 21), there was widespread disruption to both rail, flight and road travel as the UK felt the force of the tail-end of Hurricane Gonzalo. The A83 in Argyll was among roads that had to be closed because of high winds, as, while ‘slippery tracks’ disrupted trains across the south east. Check for weather warnings at the Met Office website  and if there is a warning in place where you are going, expect some your journey to take longer than expected.

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