Visits to see the Queen lie in state will create ‘unprecedented travel demand’ in London
London will experience "unprecedented travel demand" in the coming days as people visit the capital to pay their respects to the Queen, transport bosses have warned.
Commuters are being advised that the city will be "exceptionally busy" and they should expect Tube stations to temporarily close to avoid overcrowding.
From Wednesday, it is "essential" to plan journeys in advance using the latest information, according to a joint statement by Network Rail, Transport for London and industry body the Rail Delivery Group.
The organisations said: "As Her Majesty’s coffin travels to London to lie in state at the Palace of Westminster, it is expected that we will see unprecedented travel demand in the capital, especially from Wednesday 14 September.
"Transport providers have well-developed plans with extra staff and services coming on-stream to help people get to where they need to be.”
London Underground passengers are urged to avoid Green Park station "if possible" due to "high numbers of customers passing through".
It is the nearest station to Buckingham Palace, but other nearby options include Victoria, Piccadilly Circus and St James’ Park.
A special service will run on the Elizabeth line railway between London’s Paddington and Abbey Wood on Sunday to ease the pressure on other parts of the transport network.
That section of the line – which was opened by the Queen in May – is usually closed on Sundays due to testing and software updates.
Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy said: "The transport industry is working hard to help people pay their respects in London and across the United Kingdom.
"Please make sure you check before you travel as we expect the road and transport networks to be busy."
London’s transport commissioner Andy Byford said: "At such an important and difficult time for the country, we are doing everything we can to ensure Londoners and visitors can pay their respects to Her Majesty the Queen and welcome His Majesty the King.
"We are working with our partners to keep our city moving smoothly and to ensure that everyone who needs to get around or is planning to attend the memorial events can do so safely.
"I would urge all customers to check before they travel, using the TfL website or TfL Go app, as while we’re planning to run a normal service, there may be short notice changes and diversions as a result of the large number of people travelling and necessary road closures."
South Western Railway issued advice on revised ticket arrangements to cover the period up to and including Monday 19 September, the date of the Queen's funeral.
Officials expect queues to see the Queen’s lying in state could last 12 hours and stretch for miles, as the Met's new boss, Sir Mark Rowley, admitted that preparations for the Queen’s lying in state are a “massive challenge” for the force.
On Monday the force closed roads around Buckingham Palace, Green Park and St James’s Park for vehicles "to ensure the safety" of mourners visiting the area on foot to pay their respects to the Queen.
Monday's travel warning comes as government officials are planning for at least 750,000 visitors to descend on Westminster to pay their respects to the Queen, according to The Times.
A Cabinet Office source told the paper there's a "very real possibility" that London will become "full" for the first time.
For four days, the public will be able to file past the Queen’s closed coffin in the ancient Westminster Hall.
Queues will be very long, will continuously move – with little chance to rest or sit down – and are expected to stretch throughout central London, the government has warned.
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