London

Royal wedding: Train firms 'will cope' with visitors

Up to 400,000 people are expected to travel by train into central London on Friday, the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) has said.

Train companies expect a 15% rise in passengers on the royal wedding day compared to a normal bank holiday, the association said.

An ATOC spokesman said: "We are confident the train network will cope."

Network Rail said engineering work had been moved "wherever possible" so travel to London would not be affected.

"More trains are being put on than on a normal bank holiday," the ATOC spokesman said.

"Around half of train companies are running a full weekday service, but we are expecting passenger numbers to be significantly below a normal Friday's passengers."

Meanwhile motorists have been advised to avoid central London.

Tent village

Several road closures will be in place while many bus routes around Westminster, Hyde Park, Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square will be diverted.

The congestion charge has been lifted as it is a bank holiday.

Swelling numbers of camera crews and royal fans caused congestion outside Westminster Abbey on Thursday.

A makeshift tent village spread across the pavement opposite the abbey, forcing the pedestrian pathway to a standstill with police implementing a one-way system for people on foot.

Crowds extended down nearby streets and traffic jams formed on Victoria Street, the main road outside the abbey.

A Metropolitan policeman said camera crews in front of the tents had caused blockages on the road so they had used barricades to "separate the people from the traffic to keep everyone safe".

'Travel lottery'

No engineering work is planned for the Tube and London Underground plans to run a Saturday service during the day, with all stations close to Westminster staying open.

But the RMT union's general secretary Bob Crow warned that it would be a "travel lottery" in the capital and the Tube system was "already struggling to cope".

London's transport commissioner Peter Hendy said officials were working to ensure travel was safe and easy.

VisitBritain has predicted an extra 600,000 people will be in London on Friday.

The Metropolitan Police said about 5,000 police officers would either be on duty or in reserve.

Commander Christine Jones said: "We aim to ensure that our safety and security operation is effective yet does not detract from a day of celebration, joy and ceremony."

The four-day holiday weekend was expected to attract an extra 500,000 shoppers to central London, according to the organisation which represented retailers on Oxford Street and Bond Street.

The New West End Company predicted these customers would spend £50m between them.

Image caption Motorists have been advised to avoid central London

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