National Express is adding thousands of extra seats to its services in light of what it describes as rail passengers facing “a month of chaos”. Throughout much of August (5 to 28 August) Waterloo Station will be partially closed for works causing disruption on rail services in the south including: Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Poole, Winchester, Salisbury and Southampton. The company has seen advance bookings rise significantly in these areas, which it believes is due to the disruption, with sales up by as much as 100% year-on-year on certain routes (Salisbury – London). To cope with the extra demand the coach operator is adding over 2,000 extra seats to services.
Additionally, during the Bank Holiday weekend (25th-28th August) London Euston station will be closed due to planned engineering works affecting West Coast mainline services, while work to the Great Western mainline is also due to take place. This means rail passengers in the North West, Midlands and South West face significant disruption over the weekend and Network Rail has advised people not to travel to London by train. As a result, National Express has seen advance booking figures increase by 90% year-on-year on West Coast mainline routes over the Bank Holiday and as much as 175% on certain routes (Liverpool – London).
National Express Coach MD, Chris Hardy, said: “With widespread chaos on the rail network this August that threatens to spoil the Bank Holiday weekend, we are riding to the rescue of people who want to visit friends, family, or go on holiday, and we pledge to keep adding capacity according to demand.”
• See our interview with Chris Hardy on page 34.