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Thursday, December 7, 2023

August Bank Holiday work to introduce digital signalling on East Coast Main Line

Passengers intending to travel between London Kings Cross and Stevenage and on Great Northern routes into Moorgate over the August Bank Holiday weekend are being asked to plan ahead due to engineering work, and check how their journey may be affected.

Work is taking place as part of the Government funded East Coast Digital Programme, which will see traditional signals removed from the tracks and replaced with state-of-the-art digital signalling technology. This will reduce delays and enable a more reliable service for passengers.

On Sunday 28 August work between Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin will see the installation of 67 equipment cabinets which will prepare the route for the transition to digital operation. 

This section of the East Coast Main Line will be the first section of the inter-city route to benefit from digital signalling. There will be a new operating system, linked to a screen in the driver’s cab, that continuously communicates with each train, rather than relying on fixed infrastructure signals. It is expected that the first trains to operate using the technology will run in 2025.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, teams will also be working to upgrade the tracks in the Drayton Park area on the Northern City Line, between Finsbury Park and Moorgate. This will help to boost reliability and reduce disruption, helping to achieve a modern railway which is fit for the future.

New Southgate station will be closed on Sunday 28 August whilst improvement work takes place to replace the support structure beneath the current ticket office and relocate it.

East Coast Main Line

On Sunday 28 August:

  • There will be no Thameslink or Great Northern services between Finsbury Park and Stevenage via Welwyn Garden City.
  • Trains between London and Cambridge/King’s Lynn/Peterborough will divert non-stop via Hertford North, with extended journey times.
  • Buses will replace trains between Alexandra Palace and Stevenage via Welwyn Garden City.
  • Buses will also replace trains between Hertford North and Stevenage, via Watton-at-Stone.
  • Long distance services on the East Coast Main Line involving LNER, Grand Central, Hull Trains and Lumo will continue to operate via the Hertford Loop but with longer journey times.
  • New Southgate station will be closed.

Northern City Line

  • On 27/28/29 August trains which usually run to and from Moorgate will be diverted into London King’s Cross.

Passengers are advised to allow plenty of time for their journey and check before travelling via National Rail Enquires or their operator.

Toufic Machnouk, Network Rail’s Director, Industry Partnership for Digital Railway, said: “The work happening this Bank Holiday weekend is a key part of the transition as we begin to move to digital signalling. It’s central to the exciting progress we’re continuing to make as part of the digital transformation of the East Coast Main Line.

“I’m sorry to any passengers who have to make changes to their plans and would ask everybody to check before you travel. Ultimately the work is vital to create a safer, more reliable, efficient, resilient and greener railway for everyone who uses the route.”

Jenny Saunders, Great Northern’s Customer Services Director, said: “Network Rail’s vital work to modernise our railway means our passengers’ journeys on these key routes will be more reliable in the future. We’re doing our best to keep disruption to a minimum but some journeys may take longer than usual.

“Please check how your journey may be affected over the Bank Holiday weekend using National Rail Enquiries’ online journey planner. As always, thank you for your patience and understanding.”

Image credit: Network Rail

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