Network Rail teams have completed two weekends of upgrades as part of the billion-pound East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP).
Further engineering work is planned between King’s Cross and Peterborough in February half term that will close a section of the East Coast Main Line for a weekend and two working days.
Over the past two weekends, engineers have worked around the clock carrying out further improvements to the track, as well as adjusting overhead line equipment, and testing newly installed cabling and equipment. This is in preparation for digital, in-cab signalling to operate on the East Coast Main Line in 2025, resulting in more reliable, resilient, and greener journeys.
During the next piece of work, from 17-20 February, Network Rail will commission the first section of the new digital signalling system between Welwyn and Hitchin, paving the way for train testing in the next phase of the programme.
As a result, between Saturday 17 and Tuesday 20 February, no Thameslink or Great Northern trains will operate between:
- Potters Bar and Peterborough
- Potters Bar and Royston
- Stevenage and Hertford North
Additionally, on Sunday 18 February only, there will be no trains between Alexandra Palace and Potters Bar.
An amended train service will run between:
- King’s Cross and Potters Bar (Saturday 17, Monday 19 and Tuesday 20. On Sunday 18 this will run to/from King’s Cross and Alexandra Palace)
- Moorgate and Potters Bar (Saturday 17, Monday 19 and Tuesday 20. On Sunday 18 this will run to/from Moorgate and Alexandra Palace)
- Moorgate, Alexandra Palace and Hertford North
- Royston and Kings Lynn
An extremely limited rail replacement bus service will run:
Saturday 17 to Tuesday 20 February:
- Peterborough and Bedford via Huntingdon and St Neots
- Peterborough and Hitchin
- Royston and Hitchin
- Stevenage and Luton Airport Parkway via Hitchin
- St Albans and Stevenage via Welwyn Garden City
- Potters Bar and Hitchin
- Hertford North and Stevenage Hitchin and Peterborough (calling at all stations)
Sunday 18 only, in addition to the above:
- Alexandra Palace and Welwyn Garden City via Cockfosters
- Potters Bar and Cockfosters via Hadley Wood
Weekend work mostly additional to the East Coast Digital Programme will also see changes to services on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 February. Over this weekend, engineers will be working in the Peterborough area to replace switches and crossings, which allow trains to move between tracks.
Buses will replace Thameslink trains between Peterborough and Huntingdon.
Ricky Barsby, head of access and integration for East Coast Digital Programme, said: “This is a huge milestone for the project. Commissioning the Welwyn to Hitchin stretch will allow us to start testing the new system with trains and is testament to the incredible hard work and dedication of our engineers over the last year.
“We know this extended work, especially working over a Monday and Tuesday, will cause disruption to passengers and we are very sorry for that. Our engineers will be working around the clock to complete this work.
“We would encourage all passengers to check their journey via National Rail Enquiries before they travel and want to thank them for their patience and understanding.”
Jenny Saunders, customer services director at Govia Thameslink Railway, added: “We are very sorry for the disruption this will cause our Great Northern and Thameslink customers. Unusually, this work straddles two working days in addition to a weekend, so please plan ahead and check your journey to see how it is affected.
“The extremely limited rail replacement bus service is likely to be very busy over this four-day period, so we are encouraging customers to travel later in the week if they can.
“In particular, we’d urge people to work from home on Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 February if possible, to keep replacement bus services free for key workers.”
Image credit: Network Rail