The death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III. have no parallel for the United Kingdom in modern times.
At the Queen’s funeral on September 19, there are disruptions in numerous means of transport.
These are the most important questions and answers.
Where will travel be most affected?
Central London. Her Majesty lies in Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster in central London until 6.30am on Monday 19 September.
Parts of central London are closed to normal traffic, with many bus routes restricted. While the subway runs normally, some station entrances are closed.
The afternoon of the funeral saw extensive road closures between central London and Windsor.
Air traffic restrictions apply at Heathrow; Flights normally land over central London and depart via Windsor, where the Queen is buried. As a result, around 200 flights to and from Heathrow Airport have been cancelled.
What’s happening on the rails?
Although Monday is a public holiday, normal train services are offered every day of the week. Cheaper off-peak fares are available throughout the day.
Several rail operators are offering additional services, including some through the night, up to and including the day of the funeral, to allow as many people as possible to travel to the capital to pay their respects.
Crowds at train stations are expected to be at their heaviest on Monday afternoon, when leaving London after the funeral. Passengers delaying their journey home are likely to experience a more comfortable journey.
GWR, which operates trains from South Wales and the West of England to London Paddington, added an hourly service from the capital to Swindon, Bath and Bristol on Monday evening/Tuesday morning.
East Midlands Railway has the same schedule from London St Pancras to Leicester and Derby.
Stations such as London Marylebone, St Pancras and King’s Cross provide overnight ‘welfare trains’: empty trains parked at platforms for people to rest comfortably, with refreshment facilities nearby. No tickets are required.
What about public transport in London?
Transport for London (TfL) warns of “unprecedented travel demand in the capital”.
On Saturday six Tube stations recorded ridership well above the corresponding day in 2019: Bermondsey (the closest to Southwark Park where the queue for the mooring homage begins), Charing Cross, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner, St James’s Park and Westminster.
Travelers and commuters in London have been asked to avoid Green Park tube station, which is closest to Buckingham Palace, and instead walk from other nearby stations such as Victoria or Piccadilly Circus.
Green Park, the closest tube station to Buckingham Palace, will only be used for exit and transfer between 10am and 8pm on Monday and Tuesday 19th and 20th September.
St James’ Park, Westminster and Hyde Park Corner stations will be closed “for much of Monday morning” to prevent overcrowding.
Meanwhile, the Elizabeth Line will operate a special 12-train per hour service on its central London section (Paddington-Abbey Wood) on Sunday 18th September; usually it is closed on Sundays.
Buses serving central London are experiencing severe disruption, typically starting and ending their journeys outside the Borough of Westminster.
Walking and cycling in the Westminster area are severely restricted, with most journeys taking two or three times longer than usual.
I have booked a flight for the next few days. Will it work?
Many flights to and from Heathrow on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday have been cancelled.
There will be a blanket flight ban over central London during the Queen’s funeral. On a normal day, planes land at Heathrow south of Westminster, causing a significant amount of noise.
The airport informs the passenger: “As a sign of respect for the celebration of this sad and unique occasion, operations at the airport will be modified to avoid noise disturbances during the state funeral.
- 1140 – 1210: No aircraft movements in support of the two minute silence at the end of Her Majesty’s funeral
- 1345 – 1420: no arrivals in support of Her Majesty’s hearse procession
- 1505 – 1645: no departures in support of the ceremonial procession up the Long Walk to Windsor Castle
- 1645 – 2100: We will be offering a reduced departure rate to support the posting service at St George’s Chapel.
British Airways canceled 100 flights to and from Heathrow on Monday; These are said to be 50 short-haul return flights with numerous departures from the UK.
Around 100 other Heathrow connections will be canceled between Sunday and Tuesday; Virgin Atlantic has canceled or rescheduled four flights, while Aer Lingus grounded eight flights between the UK and Ireland or Northern Ireland.
United Airlines has canceled Sunday night flights from Boston, Chicago, Denver, New York and San Francisco that are scheduled to arrive on Monday.
Other long haul cancellations include Etihad to and from Abu Dhabi and Kenya Airways to and from Nairobi.
Some flights will be delayed to avoid the lockdowns. For example, American Airlines Flight 81 from Heathrow to Dallas-Fort Worth is scheduled to take off at 5 p.m. with a delay of almost two hours.
A London City Airport spokesman said: “During the state funeral, London City flights will not fly via Westminster out of respect for the funeral service for Her Majesty the Queen.
“We are working closely with our airlines to operate a normal flight schedule that day and if flight times change, passengers will be notified by their airlines.”
No disruption is expected at other London airports – although the departure of Stansted heads of state flights, particularly US Air Force One carrying President Biden, could cause some delays.
There will be changes to some Glasgow-based Loganair flights. The airline says: “As a mark of respect, we are working with our airport and service partners to ensure we do not have scheduled flights during the funeral itself.
“This is to allow our staff to see the State Funeral and Loganair as a team to show our deep respect to Her Majesty.”
What about bus trips?
Both National Express and Megabus have added coaches to meet the increasing demand for people traveling to and from London for the State Funeral.
On the day of the funeral, Victoria Coach Station (VCS) will close from 2am on Monday due to its proximity to the funeral at Westminster Abbey.
The last National Express arrival into VCS on Sunday evening/Monday morning is from Weymouth at 00:20 and the last departure to Weston-super-Mare is at 01:00. These will also be the first arrivals and departures at the VCS when operations resume just after midnight on Tuesday morning.
During the closure of the central London hub, almost all National Express services will be relocated to Wembley Stadium, northwest of central London. Departure is from the green parking lot; Arrivals in pink parking lot.
Services from Dover and Ramsgate start and end in Stratford, east London, while airport services – the A1 to Luton and the A6 to Stansted – serve Baker Street.
The times remain the same as printed on the tickets.
Megabus services will operate to and from Hillingdon tube station, five miles north of Heathrow Airport. The company says: “Customers must then use either the London Underground Uxbridge branch of the Metropolitan or Piccadilly lines, or the Oxford Tube bus service, which departs from Hillingdon for onward travel to central London.”
Last Megabus arrival into VCS on Sunday evening is 10pm, arrivals later that evening will depart from Baker Street.
Normal operations will resume on Tuesday morning.