Planned upgrades to affect Great Northern and Thameslink services over the Christmas period

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Network Rail and train operators are reminding passengers to check each day before they travel throughout the entire festive period as further upgrade work for the billion-pound East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) and Cambridge South station takes place over the festive period, from Christmas Eve.

On 24 December, buses will replace trains for Great Northern and Thameslink passengers travelling between:

  • Potters Bar and St Neots
  • Potters Bar and Royston
  • Hertford North and Stevenage

Before 9.00am buses will also replace trains between Finsbury Park and Potters Bar/Hertford North.

Great Northern will operate train shuttle services between London King’s Cross and Potters Bar, Moorgate and Hertford North, and London St Pancras and Finsbury Park, from where customers will be able to connect into rail replacement bus services between:

  • St Neots and Bedford 
  • Hitchin and Royston
  • Hitchin and St Neots
  • Stevenage and Luton Airport Parkway via Hitchin
  • Hitchin and St Albans City via Welwyn Garden City
  • Potters Bar and Stevenage 
  • Hertford North and Stevenage

Thameslink and Great Northern customers are also reminded that services on all routes will finish earlier on Christmas Eve. All services will finish by 21.00, but on some routes it may be considerably earlier.

As normal there will be no Thameslink or Great Northern services on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

The project will see traditional, lineside signals replaced with signalling displayed inside drivers’ cabs, which will lead to more reliable journeys for passengers and a greener railway.

On Christmas Eve, work continues to focus on the stretch between Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin and will see further installation and testing of key equipment in preparation for trains to operate using digital signalling in this area from 2025.

Further engineering work as part of the Cambridge South station and Cambridge resignalling projects will also mean some changes to Thameslink, Great Northern, CrossCountry and Greater Anglia services between Wednesday 27 December and New Year’s Day.

For Great Northern and Thameslink passengers, buses will replace trains between:

  • Royston and Cambridge North, 27 & 28 December
  • Royston and Cambridge, 29 December to 1 January

An additional direct bus service will operate between Royston and Cambridge North connecting with rail services to and from King’s Lynn from 29 December to 1 January. Trains between London and Royston will run to an amended timetable throughout the period, from Wednesday 27 December to 1 January.

Greater Anglia passengers will also see buses replacing trains between:

  • Audley End and Cambridge North (via Cambridge), 27 December to 1 January
  • Cambridge and Cambridge North, 27 & 28 December

CrossCountry services to and from Stansted Airport will be affected, as trains are replaced by buses between:

  • Ely & Cambridge, Cambridge & Stansted Airport, 27 & 28 December
  • Cambridge and Stansted Airport, 29 December to 1 January

Passengers are being encouraged to check their journey before travelling via National Rail Enquiries or through their train operator.

Sarah Hewlett, Network Rail’s Programme Manager for East Coast Digital Programme, said: “The East Coast Digital Programme will transform the way trains operate on the East Coast Main Line and will result in a more reliable, resilient, and greener railway for our passengers.

“We want to thank passengers for their patience and understanding ahead of this vital work, especially as people travel ahead of Christmas, and appreciate that their journeys will take longer than normal.

“We’re reminding passengers to check their journey before they travel via National Rail Enquiries or through their train operator.”

Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for GTR, said: “We are sorry that some of our customers will have more difficult journeys over the festive period while this vital work to improve journeys between London, Peterborough and Cambridge is carried out.

We would like to thank our customers for their patience and encourage them to check their journey each day before they travel over this period”.

There will be further ECDP work taking place over the weekends of 6/7 and 13/14 January, with no direct train services to and from London King’s Cross, St Pancras via Finsbury Park and Moorgate.  Buses will replace trains for all stations between London and Grantham/Letchworth Garden City.

Image credit: Network Rail

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