Network Rail and train operators on the East Coast Main Line have today (Monday, 14 October) announced the next set of dates which will see major improvement work take place as part of the East Coast Upgrade, including two weekends when there will be no trains to or from London King’s Cross.

As the £1.2billion investment programme ramps up, passengers are being urged to plan ahead and check before travelling as there will be changes to services next year. On Saturday, 25 and Sunday, 26 January and Saturday, 29 February and Sunday, 1 March no trains will be able to call at London King’s Cross, with passengers urged not to travel to and from London on the East Coast Main Line to either King’s Cross, St Pancras or Moorgate, including the Hertford North line.

During this time, Network Rail will continue with vital work to construct an additional platform and install new track at Stevenage station.  Work will also take place to upgrade the power supply and overhead line equipment in and around King’s Cross station and engineers will continue to relocate the signalling system to a state-of-the-art centre in York. This work can only be carried out safely when no trains are running on this section of the railway. 

There will also be five weekends of a reduced service on the East Coast Main Line, with passengers along the route urged to check before travelling and to allow additional time for their journey. These dates are:

  • Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 January
  • Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 January
  • Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 January
  • Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 February
  • Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 February

Services which do run on the above dates are likely to be very busy and passengers are advised to reserve a ticket for their journey where possible. These weekends of work are vital to allow work to progress on upgrading the key rail route, which carries over 20 million passengers every year and links London to Edinburgh via Peterborough, York and Newcastle.

Network Rail engineers will also be carrying out maintenance work which will affect passengers using services on the Welwyn Garden City and Hertford North lines to and from Moorgate.  This will take place on on Saturday, 1 and Sunday, 2 February and Saturday, 22 and Sunday, 23 February, with those who use this route urged to check before they travel.

The upgrade is the biggest improvement into the line in a generation and will bring widespread and long-lasting benefits for passengers, including more frequent services and provide an extra 10,000 seats a day for travellers. It will also deliver faster journey times and improve the reliability of services when complete.

Network Rail and train operators on the route are working hard to minimise disruption by giving passengers plenty of notice ahead of the work. Good progress was made on the upgrade during the first major planned closure of the route in 20 years over the August Bank Holiday weekend but further changes to services are needed to allow the upgrade to progress.

Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail, said: “Firstly, we would like to thank passengers for their patience so far and ask them to bear with us while the next stages of work take place.

“We’re really sorry for the disruption this work will cause, but the East Coast Main Line is long overdue an upgrade. We’re working to provide more seats and more frequent, reliable and faster journeys for the millions of people who use the line every year – and we can’t do that without causing some disruption.

“We’re doing our very best to keep passengers moving while the work is underway, but anyone using the line at weekends over the next couple of months should check before travelling.”

A spokesperson on behalf of train operators along the route said: “To allow the East Coast Upgrade to progress, there will be changes to services throughout 2020. Details of the dates from March onwards will be available at a later date.

“Passengers are strongly advised to plan their journeys in advance and check before travelling via Passengers should avoid travelling to or from London on the East Coast Main Line over the two weekends of significant disruption, as there will be no train services in or out of London King’s Cross or Moorgate.

“We would like to thank passengers for their patience as we work with Network Rail to bring improved services with faster journey times and more seats.”