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Easter weekend: What travellers should expect

A dad and his two children packing a car with luggage
Travellers are being urged to plan ahead for Easter weekend

Travellers in the South East are being urged to plan ahead for Easter bank holiday weekend as series of rail works are carried out - with roads, airports and ferries expected to be busy.

From Friday 29 March to Monday 1 April some train services will not be running and are to be replaced by buses across parts of Kent, Sussex, Surrey and south London.

Over 14m leisure journeys are expected to be made by car over Easter weekend, according to a study from the RAC and Inrix.

Gatwick Airport has said the Easter Holiday will be their "busiest" period of the year so far.

Here's what you need to know...

On the roads

Traffic on the M25
The M25, near Gatwick, is expected to be one of the busiest routes

The RAC has said Thursday 28 March and Friday 29 March are expected to be the "worst days on the roads for delays" over Easter weekend.

Alice Simpson, RAC breakdown spokesperson, said: "With Easter falling earlier than usual at the start of the school holidays, it could be ‘carmageddon’ for holidaymakers."

Inrix, travel analytics specialists, expect the heaviest traffic to be between 14:00 GMT and 19:00 on Thursday and between 11:00 and 15:00 on Friday.

The M25, near Gatwick, is expected to be one of the busiest routes, with the RAC urging people to travel before or after peak times.

Over 14m leisure journeys are expected to be made by car over Easter weekend, according to a study of drivers' getaway plans from the RAC and Inrix.

The estimate comes from a nationally representative survey of 2,136 UK adults.

Train disruption

The planned rail works over Easter weekend are part of a wider £89m programme of investment across the country to improve service reliability for passengers.

Lucy McAuliffe, Network Rail’s Sussex route director, said: "We’re grateful to our passengers for their patience whilst we carry out essential work over the Easter period."

Friday 29 March

Until 1 April, there will be no Thameslink trains via Denmark Hill. There will be a replacement bus running from Herne Hill to Bromley South.

The line between Lewes and Pevensey and Westham will be closed until 2 April and buses will replace trains on the closed sections.

Southeastern will operate a Saturday service and no Southeastern trains will run via Denmark Hill - buses will replace trains between Lewisham and Sidcup until 2 April.

South Western will run replacement buses between Hounslow and Weybridge via Staines.

Saturday 30 March

South Western will run replacement buses between Hounslow and Virginia Water via Staines until 1 April.

The operator will also run bus replacements from Hounslow and Woking via Staines and Motspur Park to Epsom on Saturday.

A woman at a train station
Over Easter weekend buses will replace some trains across parts of Kent, Sussex and Surrey

Sunday 31 March

Trains between London Victoria and Reigate will only run between Redhill and Reigate.

There will be no Southern trains between Balham and Sydenham via Streatham Hill and Crystal Palace - there are no replacement buses, but tickets will be accepted on London buses.

No Southern trains will run via the Sydenham corridor (East Croydon to London Bridge via Sydenham) but a special London Overground service will run instead.

Additionally, no trains will run between Purley and Caterham - alternative bus routes are the 407 and 434.

No trains will run between Purley and Tattenham Corner but replacement buses will be available.

Southeastern will run a Sunday service and there will be no trains via Denmark Hill, Faversham, Sidcup, or Borough Green & Wrotham.

Buses will replace trains between: Lewisham and Dartford via Sidcup, Sittingbourne and Herne Bay, Sittingbourne and Canterbury East, Canterbury East and Dover, Sevenoaks and Maidstone East.

Monday 1 April

Southeastern will run a Saturday service. Passengers are urged to allow extra time for their journeys.

In the skies

A plane taking off at Gatwick
The highest number of departures at London Gatwick are expected on Sunday 31 March

Gatwick Airport has said the Easter holiday period will be their "busiest two weeks" of the year so far.

The highest number of departures at London Gatwick are expected on Sunday 31 March, with the busiest day overall expected to be Sunday 7 April.

Nick Williams, head of passenger operations at London Gatwick, reminded passengers to "prepare in advance" of travelling.

The airport advises travellers to check for any disruption on their journey to Gatwick, pre-book parking and to book any specialist assistance required at least 48 hours in advance.

By sea

The Port of Dover issued advice to passengers ahead of the "very popular" school holiday period.

To allow for the "smoothest journey to and through the port" it asked people to travel to the ferry terminal using main routes only, to avoid traffic delays for Dover residents.

The port told travellers to allow plenty of time for their journey and to bring sufficient food and entertainment.

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