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Rail on track for Jubilee celebrations

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Network Rail has said it is scaling back its engineering work over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend.

This is obviously great news for those wanting to travel to celebrations from 2 June to 5 June, and not wanting to deal with disruption on a historic occasion.

Rail is clearly stepping up to its role as a go-to mode of transport now that the COVID-19 restrictions have dropped. There has been a lot of discussion about how vital rail leisure travel is to the industry and the passengers who rely on it. This seems the perfect time to showcase the convenience of rail travel on such an exciting occasion.

Some might even ask: could this be a change in approach from our infrastructure owner, and will it extend to other national holidays?

It is fair to say that the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend is different from Christmas and Easter – two holidays where engineering teams are especially well known for working long hours on major projects. Often, these are holidays for “staying in”. Shops, come the big day, are often closed. Meanwhile, many people who have travelled to see loved ones will have done so a few days ahead and leave a few days afterwards.

However, a Jubilee is a more extroverted occasion. The expectation is for people to get out, celebrate, and spend money after a tough couple of years under COVID restrictions. During the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the The Mall was packed with people. And a stage threw a major concert which had performances from Robbie Williams, Stevie Wonder and Kylie Minogue among many others.

Of course stations like Waterloo were full to the brim with people.

Crowds at Waterloo at the last Jubilee; credit Shutterstock

I’m sure that if anything there will be more people using our railways this time around. With the coast, or rather the lines, clear, I’m sure many will be hopping on the train to see what the capital and many other locations around the country are doing for the Queen’s celebration.

In London, that will include Trooping the Colour with 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians. There will also be the Derby at Epsom Downs and a Platinum Party at the Palace.

There is also a major rail event in the shape of the ‘Station to Station’ celebration. Six years ago, 105 railway stations took part in a wide range of activities to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday, raising thousands of pounds for charity. Now the industry is being urged to come together again to mark 70 years since Her Majesty took to the throne.

Chris Leech MBE, who led the railway’s celebrations in 2016, is doing the same in June, hoping even more organisations will take part in organising live bands, afternoon teas, jamborees, and more.

If you want to get involved, contact Chris on chris.leech@rssb.co.uk

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