Troubles pile up down south for Christmas getaway

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FLOODING and rail problems wrecked plans for millions of travellers in England and Wales during what were the busiest
24 hours of the Christmas getaway period.

A signalling problem meant the Heathrow Express between the airport and central London was unable to run, affecting thousands of passengers.

Other services from Paddington station, such as to Cardiff in Wales and Bristol in the West Country, were also severely delayed.

Trains around Gatwick airport in West Sussex were affected by a major signalling problem caused by an overnight fire near Brighton.

Motorists had to contend with floods in Reading, Bedford, Nottingham, Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire and Egginton in Derbyshire,
causing long queues on other roads.

Congestion hotspots included the M25 in Essex, and the M23 near Gatwick.

Major tailbacks also built up on the M2 in Kent, the M4 in Gloucestershire, the M6 in Warwickshire and the M60 in Greater Manchester.

The busiest roads this weekend are likely to be the M25, the M6 in the West Midlands, the M1 near Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, the M5 near Bristol and the M62 in Cheshire.

Engineering work on the west coast main line will mean no direct trains from Euston station in London to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool or Glasgow on Sunday or Monday, with passengers having to change at Rugby.