Rail bosses allow trapped mourners to sleep in empty trains

Rail bosses allow mourners trapped in London overnight to sleep in empty trains parked up at stations if they miss the last service home

  • Vacant trains being kept at number of stations specifically for helpless mourners
  • Estimated 350,000 people could make trip to London to visit the Queen’s coffin 
  • Network Rail has refused to reveal the location of the empty ‘welfare’ trains
  • Comes as operators working to introduce more services to cope with demand
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

Mourners left stranded overnight after visiting the Queen’s coffin have been sleeping in empty ‘welfare’ trains in central London after missing the last service home.

The vacant carriages are being kept at a number of stations specifically for helpless well-wishers following visits to the Palace of Westminster, where the monarch is lying in state until the morning of her funeral on Monday.

It is estimated the number of people set to make the trip could hit more than 350,000, with the queue reaching five miles overnight as mourners waited up to nine hours to pay their respects.

But sources at Network Rail told The Times that the empty trains should not be relied upon, while also refusing to reveal the location of the vacant services.

It is understood that  Charing Cross, Euston, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Victoria were being used by some passengers waiting for the first morning service. 

The last services on several lines have been leaving central London at about 1am, compared with midnight normally.

A message by Network Rail at London Waterloo station is displayed in tribute to the Queen last week 

People queuing near Tower Bridge to get into Westminster Hall to pay their final respects to the Queen

Operators have also been working on introducing more services to help cope with increased demand in the run-up to the state funeral – with capacity boosted by 50 per cent on some lines

Southeastern is one network planning to run 24-hour services this week. Most lines normally stop operating shortly after midnight and do not re-start until 5am to 5.30am.

These overnight services are one-way taking passengers out of London to the home counties.

Mourners travelling to the capital  by train are being urged to stay for lunch to avoid overcrowding.

There are fears that a ‘New Year’s Eve-type mass exodus’ after the funeral cortege leaves Westminster on Monday will cause severe congestion at Tube and mainline stations, a rail industry source said.

People visiting the city on Monday to pay their respects to the Queen should ‘take a picnic, spend time in London, raise a glass to Her Majesty and keep reviewing live travel information’, the source added.

A full weekday timetable will operate, with about 250 additional services, including some overnight trains.

Transport for London (TfL) said that most Tube lines will remain open for an additional hour on the night after the funeral, to ensure people can ‘travel around the capital safely’.

The last services on several lines will leave central London at about 1am, compared with midnight normally.

The rail industry is confident there will be enough capacity to cope with the number of passengers, particularly as there will be few commuters due to Monday being a bank holiday.

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