People could be encouraged to work from home this week after travel bosses warned of ‘unprecedented’ disruption into and around London ahead of the late Queen’s funeral.
Queen Elizabeth II‘s coffin will lie in state in Westminster Hall from Wednesday until her funeral on Monday.
As many as one million mourners are expected to visit the capital to pay their respects to the Monarch, with queues to see the coffin expected to stretch more than three miles and exceed a 20 hour wait-time.
Demand on trains, tubes and busses is expected to be particularly high from Wednesday with Transport for London and Network Rail adding that they would ensure people can travel across the city ‘as easily as possible’.
The predicted transport chaos may lead to some employees being told to work from home again to avoid major disruption.
People could be encouraged to work from home this week after transport bosses have warned of ‘unprecedented’ levels of disruption on travel routes into London. Last night, rail bosses were drawing up plans for 24-hour train services into London in the run-up to the Queen’s funeral next Monday
The official spokesman for Prime Minister Liz Truss said yesterday that commuters may want to ‘change their working patterns accordingly’ to avoid transport chaos but added that ‘not everyone will have that ability’.
He added: ‘At this point we can’t be more specific on numbers. We do expect it to be extremely busy.
‘I think for the Queen Mother it was around 200,000 people (who attended), we expect (it) to be far more than that for this lying in state.
People urged not to camp ahead of the Queen’s lying in state procession
The public have been warned not to wait or camp along the route where the Queen’s coffin will be taken from Buckingham Palace to Westminster for the lying in state.
On Wednesday, the late monarch’s coffin will be transported on a gun carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
King Charles III along with other senior members of the Royal Family will walk slowly behind the coffin.
The route is expected to take 38 minutes moving along The Mall, Horse Guards Road, across Horse Guards Parade, onto Whitehall and into the Palace of Westminster after 2.22pm.
Viewing areas along the route with limited capacity will open at 11am on the day, with people admitted in order of arrival time amid expected large queues, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said.
If a person leaves the area their readmission cannot be guaranteed.
Today the DCMS warned: ‘Please do not wait or camp in advance of the processional day.
‘If you camp before this time you may be asked to move on.’
People are also advised to bring with them suitable clothing for any weather conditions, food and drink and appropriate footwear.
Tents, gazebos or camping gear, barbecues and equipment for fires and alcohol are prohibited.
Mourners must keep noise to a minimum when the procession passes them and have been told to behave appropriately, dispose of litter and follow the instructions of police and stewards or face being asked to leave.
There will also be large screens at Hyde Park where those who cannot access viewing sites can watch the procession, which will be broadcast on national television and radio.
‘But at this point, but we can’t be more specific into exact numbers.’
The choice to work from home will be down to individual employers rather than official government advice.
Last night, rail bosses were drawing up plans for 24-hour train services into London in the run-up to the Queen’s funeral next Monday.
Capacity could be boosted by 50 per cent on some lines. Transport chiefs are expecting demand on railways and roads in the capital to be ‘unprecedented’.
The Elizabeth line will run a special service with 12 trains per hour on the central section from Paddington to Abbey Wood on Sunday, while staff at some Underground stations may have to implement queuing, closures or non-stopping trains.
Plans were still being finalised yesterday, but Southeastern is one operator set to run 24-hour services. Most lines normally stop operating shortly after midnight and do not re-start until 5am to 5.30am.
A rail source said: ‘There will be 24-hour services on some routes by some operators.
‘Specific details will be on journey planners by Wednesday.’
But some tube stations may have to be shut down to prevent overcrowding.
The Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, urged passengers to leave plenty of time to travel during the official mourning period, adding that services to and stations in London would be ‘extremely busy’.
The public have been told to avoid using Green Park station as high numbers of passengers are expected to pass through the stop.
Hotel chains have also seen a major uptake in reservations ahead of the lying in state and funeral, with Travelodge revealing there had been a ‘surge in London bookings from all corners of the UK’ to its 78 hotels in the capital
Some of Britain’s largest supermarket chains announced they will be closing their stores on the day of the funeral out of respect for the late monarch.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Waitrose and Poundland said last night that the would not open at all on the day of the service, which is being held at Westminster Abbey.
Morrison’s and Asda are also expected to close their stores between 10am and 2pm.
The public will be allowed to view the coffin from 5pm on Wednesday but Royal superfans have already begun queuing to ensure they see the Queen’s coffin lying in state.
Royal Mail has also announced it will not be making deliveries on the day of the service.
Vanessa Nathakumaran, 56, from Harrow, appeared at midday yesterday – more than 48 hours before Her Majesty’s coffin arrives – to the south of Lambeth bridge, where the entrance to the queue is expected to be set up.
Ms Nathakumaran said she does not want to miss the opportunity to pay her respects after ‘admiring the royal family’ since she was 10-years-old.
And she is not alone – Whitehall bosses are reportedly expecting close to a million mourners coming to visit Westminster Hall over the next week.
More than 300,000 people came to see King George VI lying in state in 1952, 200,000 saw the Queen Mother’s coffin in 2002 and a million people flooded the streets of the capital for Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997.
Scotland Yard has already begun closing roads around Westminster.
The strain the mass queueing will put on policing is likely to see a number of events including football matches cancelled, with Arsenal v PSV Eindhoven in the Europa League on Thursday already off due to insufficient police.
Whitehall bosses predict that more than a million mourners could visit Westminster Hall, where the Queen’s coffin is lying in state, over the next week. Capacity could be boosted by 50 per cent on some lines. Transport chiefs are expecting demand on railways and roads in the capital to be ‘unprecedented’
More than 300,000 people came to see King George VI lying in state Westminster Hall (pictured) in 1952. A further 200,000 saw the Queen Mother’s coffin in 2002 and a million people flooded the streets of the capital for Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997
Number 10 was asked if there will be any facilities for people who physically cannot queue for 30 hours.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: ‘Obviously we want everyone to be able to attend regardless of whether they have disabilities. Our focus is on ensuring they have the information needed to make the decision about what’s right for them.
‘There will be toilet facilities, there will be first aid available, there will be the ability for people obviously to go and use toilets and return to queues and things like that.’
Portable toilets and crowd control infrastructure such as barriers and flooring have been now set up in Victoria Tower Gardens. Full details of the route will be published at 10pm on Tuesday.
However, the five-mile route is expected to begin at Southwark Park south of the Thames, with mourners following the line of the river down past Parliament to Lambeth Bridge, where they will cross back on themselves by walking back up to Westminster.
People will not be allowed to camp and will be given numbered wristbands to indicate their place in the queue so they are able to leave and come back, it is understood.
There is expected to be airport-style security, complete with bag checks and metal detectors, in the car park of the House of Lords in front of Parliament, according to The Times.
Because the line will be moving constantly, it won’t be possible for well-wishers to sit down for longer than a few seconds at a time. Along with the portable toilets, water stations are already being set up.
Anyone with luggage will reportedly have to stop and leave their bags in a park near Lambeth Palace.
People started to camp on The Mall today ahead of the Queen’s coffin being taken from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday afternoon by procession on a Gun Carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery to Westminster Hall
A large structure is put up in Westminster today as plans are well underway for the capital to host huge numbers of visitors
Crowd barriers and portable toilets have been set up in Westminster before ordinary Britons start queuing for up to 30 hours to see the Queen lying in state
As many as 10,000 police officers will be deployed in London, with officers on alert for both potential terrorism and activists such as environmental protesters.
Up to 1,500 soldiers will also be available to help stewards control crowds. According to The Times, the queue will be closed if there are too many people.
The Cabinet Office has been preparing for the ‘very real possibility’ that London will become ‘full’ for the first time, reported The Times which also said rail firms could be told to ask passengers not to try to travel into the capital.
A rail source told the newspaper: ‘There is real concern the capital will reach bursting point. All the planning has been done by the Cabinet Office as part of Operation London Bridge and it will be for officials to tell the rail industry to instruct passengers not to travel.’
Jason Webb, the Rail Delivery Group’s customer information director, said: ‘Understandably, many people wish to pay their respects to Her Majesty the Queen during this period of national mourning.
‘On the day of the funeral, Monday 19 September, people should plan carefully the timing of their journey home as trains and stations are likely to be extremely busy.’
Rail bosses added that anytime, off-peak and super-off-peak ticket holders will be able to get fee-free refunds on tickets which have been purchased before the announcement of the Queen’s death last Thursday. The £10 administration fee will be waived.
Guidelines for how people should behave and what they should wear have been issued by the Government. Mourners have been told to remain silent inside the Palace of Westminster.
The guidance adds that ‘prohibited items’ will be ‘confiscated and will not be returned’. Only clear water bottles are allowed and they will need to be emptied before entering the security search point. Any food has to be consumed before entering the search point
The Government has issued advice saying that only one small bag per person is allowed for those queuing to see Her Majesty’s coffin in Westminster Hall
It urges people to ‘dress appropriately for the occasion to pay your respects’. Clothes with ‘political or offensive slogans’ are banned.
‘Please respect the dignity of this event and behave appropriately. You should remain silent while inside the Palace of Westminster’, it adds.
A source told the Daily Mail: ‘It is like trying to organise something on a similar scale to the London Olympics in a matter of days.’
Once Her Majesty’s coffin arrives in London, it will be taken first to Buckingham Palace. Tens of thousands of well-wishers are then expected to line the streets as the coffin makes the journey to Westminster Hall.
The procession will travel via The Mall, Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and Parliament Square. The ceremony will be screened live in Hyde Park, with a viewing area opening at 11am on Wednesday.
The procession will travel via The Mall (pictured), Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and Parliament Square. The ceremony will be screened live in Hyde Park, with a viewing area opening at 11am on Wednesday
The Queen’s coffin is currently lying in state in St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. At around 6pm, the coffin will be flown back to London accompanied by Princess Anne
King Charles, the Queen Consort and other members of the Royal Family will witness the arrival of the coffin.
Units from the Sovereign’s Bodyguard, the Household Division, or Yeoman Warders of the Tower of London will guard the coffin day and night.
It was yesterday carried by hearse in a procession from Balmoral Castle to Edinburgh. This evening King Charles and his brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward will form a guard of honour around the coffin at the four corners of a raised platform known as a catafalque.
In the moving tribute, which is known as the Vigil Of The Princes, they will take the places of guardsmen from the Royal Company of Archers for about an hour.
Wearing ceremonial uniform, each will face outwards with their heads bowed in respect.
Charles and other senior royals performed the tradition when the Queen Mother died.
They will do so again when the Queen reaches the Palace of Westminster.