- Crucial stage of work to simplify track layout and reopen a disused railway tunnel near London King’s Cross station begins soon
- Work is part of East Coast Upgrade, which will transform journeys between London, the North of England and Scotland
- Reduced service to/from London King’s Cross station between 1 March and 6 June (inclusive)
- No trains in or out of London King’s Cross station on 26/27/28 February, 23/24/25 April and 4/5/6 June
Network Rail teams are gearing up to carry out a major stage of the £1.2billion upgrade to the East Coast Main Line, which is the biggest investment into the historic route in a generation.
Over a three-month period, rail workers will simplify the track layout just outside of King’s Cross station, as well as reopen a railway tunnel which closed in the 1970s, creating two extra tracks in and out of the iconic transport hub.
Both pieces of work will make it easier for trains to enter and exit London King’s Cross station, reducing congestion and creating smoother, more reliable and more punctual journeys for passengers.
The bulk of the work begins in March and will run until early June, with a full train service able to run once more from Monday, 7 June. The rail industry has carefully planned the project to cause as little disruption as possible to customers.
Trains will be able to run to and from London King’s Cross station for the vast majority of the work, although there will be a slightly reduced service in place, as well as two weekends, one in April and one in June, when no trains will be able to call at the station. Once the work completes in June, more than 6km of new track and over 15km of overhead wires will have been installed.
To enable the reduced service to run during the three months, Network Rail teams will make essential changes to the signalling and tracks in the area, with this work taking place between Friday, 26 and Sunday 28 February (inclusive). For this work to be carried out safely, the following changes will be in place.
- Most LNER services to/from the north of England and Scotland will start/end at Peterborough
- Two trains per hour will start/end at St Neots, where passengers can use replacement coach services to Bedford, to connect with trains between Bedford and St Pancras International
- Passengers travelling on all LNER services must have a seat reservation
People must continue to follow the latest Government guidance and stay at home, except for limited reasons. Those who need to make essential journeys on the East Coast Main Line over the coming months are strongly advised to check before travelling via National Rail Enquiries, at EastCoastUpgrade.co.uk or on their train operator’s website, allow plenty of time and avoid travelling at peak times where possible. Grand Central and Hull Train services, which are currently suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, are expected to resume on Monday, 1 March.
Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade, said: “Our teams are busy making sure that everything is ready for the latest stage of this industry leading project. The work we’re doing at the end of this month is vital to enable a reduced train service to run in and out of King’s Cross station for the vast majority of the main part of this work, which begins in March.
“This East Coast Upgrade is a truly transformative programme, which will bring significant and tangible benefits, such as faster, more frequent and more reliable journeys, which will be felt by all those using the East Coast Main Line and we’d once again like to thank all those impacted by this work for their patience.”
David Horne, LNER Managing Director, said: “We understand this crucial work may disrupt customers’ travel plans over the next few months and we appreciate their understanding. When completed, this project will bring long-term benefits for customers and communities along the East Coast route.
“This is a crucial stage of the East Coast Upgrade programme that will see two new tracks installed inside the new tunnel and signalling system, which will allow LNER to operate faster, more frequent services connecting London, the North of England and Scotland. Customers who need to travel on the dates affected should plan ahead as we work with Network Rail to deliver the benefits of this major investment.”
Photo credit: Network Rail