Right royal rail ruckus: Strikes set to disrupt travel just in time for the Queen’s Jubilee!
Chalkmarks: Union Jack Flags for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Good afternoon. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 27th May 2022

Wine anyone? Cheese? Karaoke? How we love reading about Partygate but TGIF! It’s time to talk travel. This week we are mainly getting ready for a trip to Iceland. Packing for a hot holiday is easy but for a cold climate it’s tough. There’s less choice. Clothes are more bulky. You need to think about layers, coats and taking boots. We just want to look hot! What would the Queen do?
Did you know there’s a Jubilee on? And can you name the royal who is about to celebrate 70 years on the throne? If you can, you get four days off next week. We’re just six sleeps away from an extra long weekend as Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest serving monarch ever. Here’s to Her Maj and here’s what made the travel headlines this week.

Trifle and gin!

The world is your oyster: It finally arrived! Not the Sue Gray report, the Elizabeth Line. It’s three-and-a-half-years late and £4bn over budget but it finally left Paddington on a wet Tuesday morning. Overnight, thousands of rail buffs queued up at various stations along the line to catch the first service just after 6.30am. The purple line will cut journey times across London. The verdict? Apparently it smells amazing! Marble Arch turned purple for the occasion. Time Out had the pic. PA had the full story. And YouTube star Geoff Marshall captured the excitement.

Lizzie Line getaways: Where does it go? To new adventures! It has 41 stations, 10 of which are brand new. The new line stretches from Reading, Berkshire, to Shenfield, Essex. The Independent pulled together a list of the best places to visit along the new route.

London calling: The City of London Corporation announced its visionary plans to make the famous Square Mile a 24/7 destination. This is ambitious considering much of it closes down on the weekends especially stunning Leadenhall Market. Its policy chairman Chris Hayward penned a piece for CityAM saying they want the financial district to be more than just business – but also leisure. With many people still working from home, he said: “We can’t just tell people to come back, we have to convince them.”

We luv London: London is really a city within a city….within a city. Within the old Roman City Walls you’ll find the Barbican, the Museum of London and St Paul’s. The Tower of London didn’t come along until a thousand years after the Romans arrived in 43. It was built outside the City Wall in 1078, which was around the same time that London became the nation’s capital. Modern additions to the City include a handful of skyscrapers all located around Bishopsgate, including the Gherkin, the Walkie Talkie, the Scalpel and the Cheesegrater. The latest, is known by its address, TwentyTwo, and was completed in 2020. Read all about what you should know about London here.

Trouble down the tracks: Strikes are coming. Train unions are calling for strike action over pay and possible Network Rail job cuts. This week the RMT voted in favour of strike action but they didn’t say when. Expect dates next week. If the strikes go ahead it’ll be the biggest walkout in modern history. Another union TSSA has yet to ballot its members. 

Red light: Workers voted for strikes at 13 train companies: Avanti West Coast, C2C, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, Greater Anglia, GWR, LNER, Northern, South Western Railway, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains.

Green light: Employees voted for action but no strikes at Southern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Great Northern.

What does it mean: Train services won’t come to a halt but there will be a very limited service on strike days –  7am to 7pm has been reported. The biggest fear is not just the chaos it’ll cause to passengers but the knock on affect to freight trains which carry vital supplies to keep industry going. The Daily Mail warned of black outs as Drax Power Station needs a constant supply of wood pellets to keep burning. They also warned of petrol shortages and empty shelves during a “summer of discontent”.

Another one: ScotRail has already canceled 700 trains in a row over overtime. A 2.2 per cent pay rise offer has been rejected. It’s feared if this drags on it will affect many of Scotland’s summer events including the Golf at St Andrews and even the Edinburgh Festival. The Herald has the details and the BBC the latest on the negotiations with union Aslef. ScotRail’s Twitter feed is posting daily updates on disrupted services.

Tube strike: Our extra days off next weekend start with two London Underground stations having called a 24-hour walkout during the Queen’s Jubilee Platinum celebrations. When thousands of people are expected to pour into London, the RMT Union announced strike action at Euston station and Green Park – the closet to Buckingham Palace and the Mall – on Friday 3rd June, in a row over bullying. It will impact the Jubilee, Piccadilly, and Victoria lines. inews has the latest.

Keep calm and carry on: Here is a list of Jubilee events during the four-day weekend. On Thursday 2nd is the Queen’s Birthday Parade, Trooping the Colour, the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, a flypast and the lighting of beacons across the country. On Friday 3rd is a thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral and royal reception at Guildhall. On Saturday 4th is Derby Day at Epsom followed by the BBC’s Platinum Party at the Palace concert with a line up including Queen + Adam Lambert, Diana Ross and Duran Duran. On Sunday 5th expect street parties across the nation with celebrations ending in London with the Jubilee Pageant which includes a carnival, plenty of celebs and Ed Sheeran singing the national anthem in front of Buckingham Palace.

Treasured: Six landmark sites across the UK were granted listed protection for future generations. All were places visited by the Queen, often with the Duke of Edinburgh. They include a church, a theatre and even signs on the motorway. Historic England has the list. 

H&M: Not the shop but Harry and Meghan. They have rejoined the royal family at Madame Tussauds, just for the Jubilee. They were removed in 2020 when they decided to step back from royal duties. At the time the waxworks museum tweeted: “we’ve got to respect their wishes #Megxit.” The pair are back for a short time only.

What next: The cost of traveling to the US rose by 50 per cent this week. The Esta visa waiver that every British traveller needs on arrival jumped from $14 (£11) to $21 (£17). The Independent explained why.

Lost holidays: On Thursday easyJet apologised after cancelling 200 flights across Europe due to an IT glitch. Thousands of passengers, mainly in Gatwick, were caught up in the disruption – then vented anger their anger on Twitter when the website went down. Simon Calder had all the details.

How much: A UK staycation will cost more than a holiday overseas says inews. They found a week’s trip to St Ives in Cornwall cost £1,400 more than a break in Cala Millor, Mallorca.

Get moving: Kent has introduced a long-distance cycling route called the Cantii Way. It’s a 145 mile loop – a three-to-four-day ride – of the county, taking in Canterbury, Whitstable and the White cliffs of Dover using country lanes, byways and bridleways. The route begins and ends in the village of Wye, close to Ashford in Kent. It officially launched yesterday on Thursday 26th May to mark Kent day.

On Tuesday: The next 2025 City of Culture will be announced live tonight on the BBC The One Show. Here’s the four cities shortlisted by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The contenders to take over from Coventry, are BradfordCounty DurhamSouthampton and Wrexham. Good luck to all. We’ll be watching!

Jam tart and lemonade!

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