St Albans residents and sports fans face two weekends of rail chaos

Buses replace St Albans Abbey - Watford Junction trains on Saturday, April 9, while sports fans face disruption

Buses replace St Albans Abbey - Watford Junction trains on Saturday, April 9, while Grand National and FA Cup Semi-Final fans are being urged to plan their journeys carefully - Credit: PA/London Northwestern Railway

Trains between Hertfordshire, London and the North West will be busy or disrupted for two weekends running.

London Northwestern Railway has announced that there will be no trains between St Albans Abbey station and Watford Junction on Saturday (April 9).

The firm has also warned passengers that trains from Watford towards Birmingham, Crewe and Liverpool are likely to be busy due to the Grand National at Aintree.

Staffing issues caused by Covid-19 mean that there will be no trains between St Albans Abbey and Watford Junction on April 9

Staffing issues caused by Covid-19 mean that there will be no trains between St Albans Abbey and Watford Junction on Saturday, April 9 - Credit: London Northwestern Railway

An LNR spokesperson said: "Unfortunately, due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19 buses replace trains between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey on Saturday, April 9.

"Services between Birmingham – Crewe – Liverpool are likely to busier between Friday, April 8 and Sunday, April 10 due to an event at Aintree.

"Please plan ahead before travelling this weekend."

The Grand National: Rail firms have asked passengers to plan their journeys carefully

The Grand National: Rail firms have asked passengers to plan their journeys carefully - Credit: PA/David Davies

Avanti West Coast trains from Watford Junction may also be disrupted.

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"Due to Covid-related absences, we are currently experiencing some staff shortages," an Avanti spokesperson said.

"We're doing everything we can to run our full timetable however, there may be short notice cancellations.

"We strongly recommend you check our website before you travel.

"Tickets will be valid on trains before and after a cancelled service."

The Grand National Festival at Aintree, near Liverpool, began on Thursday.

Soprano singer Laura Wright and the Merseyside NHS choir joined festival-goers at the event's opening ceremony.

Friday, April 8 is Ladies Day, with the first Grand National race at 1.45pm on Saturday.

The Grand National is not the only sports events where fans are being urged to carefully plan their journey.

Over the Easter weekend (Good Friday, April 15 - Easter Monday, April 18), there are no mainline trains between London Euston and Milton Keynes, via Wembley Central and Watford Junction.

Network Rail is asking football fans heading to the FA Cup Semi-Finals at Wembley Stadium to "avoid rail travel".

Manchester City take on Liverpool at the north London stadium on Saturday, April 16, with kick-off at 3.30pm.

Chelsea take on Crystal Palace - also at Wembley - on Easter Sunday, April 17, with kick off at 4.30pm.

Manchester City take on Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, April 16

Manchester City take on Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, April 16 - Credit: PA/Tim Goode

Crystal Palace will clash with Chelsea at Wembley on Easter Sunday (April 17)

Crystal Palace will clash with Chelsea at Wembley on Easter Sunday (April 17) - Credit: PA/John Walton

A Network Rail spokesperson said: "Are you heading to the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Manchester City on April 16? 

"Make sure you plan your route wisely and try to avoid rail travel, as major Easter railway improvements are taking place."

London Overground trains are set to run between Watford Junction and Kilburn High Road, through Wembley Central.

A Transport for London statement reads: "Friday, April 15 - Monday, April 18 - No service between Kilburn High Road and Euston, please use local London Underground and London Buses connections."

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