Extra train services have been planned for London over the next week as the capital prepares to receive thousands of mourners ahead of the Queen’s funeral.
Plans were being finalised on Monday for several rail operators to lay on extra services through the night, to allow as many people as possible to travel to the capital to pay their respects.
Industry figures said that individual operators would update their timetables over the next 24 to 48 hours with details of additional services.
The Independent has approached rail operators serving London for further details.
Ahead of her state funeral on 19 September, the Queen’s coffin will be flown from Edinburgh to RAF Northolt, 50 minutes’ drive west of London, on Tuesday evening (13 September), after which it will travel by hearse to Buckingham Palace.
Network Rail, which manages UK rail infrastructure, today confirmed that 200 extra train services will be added from Wednesday (14 September), with some 24-hour services available.
It warned travellers that demand for trips to London will surge from Wednesday, when the Queen’s coffin will travel by gun carriage from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.
An Avanti West Coast spokesperson confirmed that services would be bumped up in the coming days, saying: “We want to ensure that everyone who wants to travel on our trains to pay their respects can do so, and have been working hard to see where we can put on additional services for the period of mourning.
“With that in mind, we have been able to put in place up to eight additional services a day on our busiest route between London and Manchester. This will add a total of around 16,000 extra seats.”
Transport for London (TfL) also released a statement warning of “unprecedented travel demand in the capital, especially from Wednesday 14 September”.
It added that there would be “extra staff and services coming on-stream” for the busiest days, but advised visitors to “plan journeys ahead of time using real-time travel information” and “consider walking to their final destinations within the capital” where possible.
Over the next week travellers and commuters in London have been asked to avoid Green Park Tube station, the closest to Buckingham Palace, walking instead from other nearby stations such as St James’ Park and Victoria.
Meanwhile, the Elizabeth line will run a special service with 12 trains per hour on its central London section (Paddington-Abbey Wood) during Sunday 18 September; while TfL has warned that special measures around queuing, closures, non-stopping trains or changes to entry and exit routes may be put in place.
Some buses will also be diverted due to road closures around the processions.
Of the additional train services into London, Network Rail’s chairman, Sir Peter Hendy, said: “The transport industry is working hard to help people pay their respects in London and across the United Kingdom.”
A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, the industry body for passenger rail operators, added: “The rail industry is doing all it can to ensure people can travel to pay their respects during the period of mourning.
“Where possible we will be running some extra services and customers should check journey planners for the most up to date information.
“A very limited service will be operating through the night on some routes, people should check journey planners for details.”
However, an anonymous rail industry source told The Telegraph that transport ministers were reluctant to advertise additional services for fear of swelling the crowds coming into London.
“The Department for Transport (DfT) is facing a bit of a dilemma,” they said. “If anything, they want to suppress demand rather than encourage it.”
The number of visitors to London ahead of the Queen’s funeral is projected to reach around 750,000.
A spokesman for the prime minister said on Monday that commuters may want to “change their working patterns accordingly” to avoid the increased surge of visitors to the capital, but acknowledged that “not everyone will have that ability”.
He said: “At this point we can’t be more specific on numbers. We do expect it to be extremely busy.
“I think for the Queen Mother it was around 200,000 people [arriving into London], we expect it to be far more than that for this lying in state.”
Advice for those who want to pay their respects at the Queen’s Lying-in-State can be found here.