Having endured chaos on the tracks ahead of Royal Ascot, now race fans face similar carnage in getting to the Ebor Festival in York as the East Coast mainline is closed for the first time in two decades.
Quite why the train firms have scheduled works for the bank holiday weekend is anybody’s guess, but the closure of King’s Cross station means that around 2,000 punters could miss out on the meeting which will see Enable continue on her journey to mega stardom and the inaugural hosting of the £1 million purse Sky Bet Ebor.
So if you plan to travel from London or anywhere across the south east to York, you might want to start planning an alternative route. Network Rail have already recommended that passengers avoid travelling to and from the capital this weekend on the train.
How to Get from London to York?
You do have one direct train option: catch the shuttle from St Pancras International to York, although this includes a change at one of Sheffield, Derby or Chesterfield and with a total journey time of three and a half hours. This trip could be a rather crowded one.
A slightly convoluted route would take you from London St Pancras to Nuneaton, and then on to Crewe and then finally on to York. Journey time is around four hours, with stops in-between.
A third option is a trip with Megabus, who offer a London-York ticket ranging from £21 to £40 depending on your day of travel. Unfortunately, this journey takes over five hours.
If you are travelling in a group, a private taxi costs around £260 which could be split between you, although this again will take close to the five hour mark.
Bank Holiday Chaos
Both London, its surrounding areas and Yorkshire are beset with things to see and do this bank holiday weekend – again, it makes you wonder what they are serving in the canteen of Network Rail.
As well as the Ebor Festival there’s the third Ashes Test at Headingley in Yorkshire, both the Leeds and Reading Festivals, the Rugby League Challenge Cup final at Wembley plus the usual card of football fixtures up and down the UK.
Could Network Rail have picked a worse weekend?
The firm’s Ed Akers said: “Major work to upgrade the East Coast mainline will mean significant changes to services this August Bank Holiday weekend.
“We’re urging passengers not to travel on August 24-25 as there will be significant disruption.
“We appreciate this will impact on people, however this work is absolutely vital to make sure we continue to provide a railway which is fit for purpose and this upgrade will bring significant benefits to passengers once completed.”
Still, it’s not all bad news. There’s a ‘possibility’ that London North Eastern Railway will sponsor the Listed Garrowby Stakes later in the year to say sorry, which will help the angry thousands who can’t get to the Ebor this weekend no doubt feel much better.
James Brennan, of York Racecourse, said:
“We’re disappointed for southern-based racing fans as with all the work that has gone into hosting the first £1 million Ebor we wanted everyone to see it.
“It’s hard to gauge just how it will affect the attendance on Ebor day, but we’re estimating around 2,000 people to not make the journey as a consequence.”