The RAC and traffic data company Inrix estimate that there will be 31 million trips by car over Christmas. The RAC has warned that roads will be jammed with traffic as last minute Christmas shoppers and leisure seekers compete for space on Britain’s congested roads. The RAC’s Ben Aldous said: “Our figures suggest many more drivers are planning leisure trips by car in the run-up to Christmas this year.
“So bumper-to-bumper traffic on some motorways and major A-roads is going to be near-guaranteed.”
Some of the worst affected areas are expected to be on the M1, M5, M6 and M25.
The M1 between Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire is expected to be heavily congested on Saturday and Sunday, along with the northern and western sections of the M25 around London.
Delays of up to an hour are also possible from Friday morning on the M6 between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, Inrix warned.
Traffic Jam (Image: GETTY)
Travel disruption (Image: GETTY)
In Wales the M4 around Newport, Swansea and Port Talbot is likely to be the busiest road as the Christmas getaway begins.
Rail passengers travelling to and from south Wales will face severe disruptions, as London Paddington closes on two days.
Paddington is shut on Christmas Eve and December 27, while replacement buses will run between Bristol Parkway, Chepstow, Cwmbran, Ebbw Vale Town and Cardiff Central from December 27 to New Year’s Day.
From Christmas Eve to December 27 GWR services between south Wales and London start and end at Reading because of engineering work near Paddington station.
Travel disruption (Image: GETTY)
Buses will replace trains between London and Reading
From December 27 to January 1 all trains in and around south Wales will be affected by engineering work around Newport and Cardiff.
It will affect GWR London and Portsmouth routes, Cross Country services to Nottingham and all Transport for Wales trains in south Wales.
In London, rail bosses at Waterloo station have advised New Year’s Eve revellers not to rely on trains to get them home.
Xmas travel chaos (Image: GETTY)
UK congested roads (Image: GETTY)
They warned that most trains will stop running before 11pm as a result of strikes and engineering works.
South Western Railway (SWR) passengers, who are currently battling their way through 27 days of strikes, have also been told to expect more disruption to services in the New Year as a new timetable is introduced.
An SWR spokesman said: “There will be an amended timetable in place for New Year’s Eve due to RMT strike action with stations likely to be busy and queuing systems in place.
“Last services will run from Waterloo before 11pm.”
There will also be changes to timetables at King’s Cross, Paddington, Liverpool Street and Ashford International stations.
King’s Cross will see a reduced timetable in place on December 27, while services to Stansted Airport will start and terminate at Tottenham Hale and not Liverpool Street on December 26.
Eurostar trains (Image: GETTY)
Replacement buses will operate between Ashford International and Canterbury West from December 27 to 29, and Eurostar trains will not stop at Ashford from December 26 to 29.
No trains will run on Christmas Day (December 25), while there will be a significantly reduced rail service on Boxing Day.
In good news for travellers in the West Midlands, the regional train operator West Midlands Trains has announced that planned strikes on Saturdays in December have now been called off.