Network Rail is urging passengers who have to travel over the next two weekends to check their journeys, as vital work continues on the £1.5billion Midland Main Line Upgrade.

On 18/19 and 25/26 July, Network Rail engineers will carry out work to install the final section of the overhead line equipment on the route, in preparation for bi-mode trains, which are quieter and better for the environment, to run on the line in future between Bedford and Corby, via Kettering.

The overhead power lines carry 25,000 volts of electricity, enough to seriously injure or kill anyone that comes into contact with them. Network Rail is warning people of the dangers of trespassing on the tracks, and you can find out more about our hard-hitting safety campaign, Always On, here: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/communities/safety-in-the-community/railway-safety-campaigns/always-on/ 

Work has already taken place to commission and test two new substations on the route to provide the power which is needed to allow more trains to run in future. Over the next two weekends, vital work will also be carried out to test the electrical system, upgrade sections of the track on the Midland Main Line and improve the surfacing of the platforms at Wellingborough and Kettering stations.

There are various changes to services between Sheffield/Nottingham/Derby and London St Pancras International over the two weekends to enable to work to be completed safely. Network Rail, East Midlands Railway and Govia Thameslink Railway are urging passengers to check before travelling and allow plenty of time for their journeys.

Gavin Crook, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail, said: “We would like to thank passengers for their continued patience whilst this essential part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade is carried out.

“This work to install the final section of the overhead line equipment and carry out vital testing is a major step towards the completion of the Midland Main Line Upgrade, which will bring improved, faster journeys for passengers, with more seats and a more reliable railway.

“We strongly advise passengers who must travel to check their journeys in advance with National Rail Enquires or their train operator and allow plenty of time to travel.”

Lisa Angus, Transition and Projects Director for East Midlands Railway, said “We are advising any passengers who may need to travel to / from London over the weekends of 18/19 July and 25/26 July, to check our website as there is disruption to our services and rail replacements in place for part of your journey.

“The work taking place over these weekends is a significant milestone of the Midland Main Line upgrade. The final installation of the overhead line equipment will mean more reliable, faster journeys for our passengers in the future.

“As always, we thank our passengers for their patience whilst this crucial work is taking place.”

Jenny Saunders, Passenger Services Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said: “Our services between Bedford and London are likely to be busier over the next two weekends than is usual currently, because of this important work further north. Also, trains will be replaced by buses for significant periods, so it will be especially important for people to consider whether they really need to travel, and to plan their journey in advance if they have to use public transport.

“Buses will replace Thameslink services between Bedford and Luton on both Sundays, between Bedford and St Albans during the night of Saturday 25 July, and between Hendon and St Pancras in the early morning of Sunday 19 July. If you do have to travel during any of these periods, please allow plenty of extra time for your journey.”

Network Rail is asking passengers to continue following Government guidance around the use of public transport. Passengers who do travel should wear a face covering on train services and any replacement bus services. However, some passengers are exempt, including young children and people with hidden disabilities or breathing difficulties. 

Detail of the service changes:

Saturday, 18 July – Trains to/from Sheffield and Nottingham will start/terminate at Market Harborough. Road replacement services will be in place between Market Harborough and Bedford, and between Corby and Kettering. Thameslink services will run between Bedford and St Pancras.

Sunday, 19 July – Trains to/from Sheffield and Nottingham will start/terminate at Market Harborough. Road replacement services will be in place between Market Harborough and Luton and between Corby and Kettering. Thameslink trains will run between Luton and St Pancras.

Thameslink services will not run between Bedford and Luton and road replacement services will be in place. Road transport will also replace trains between Hendon and St Pancras until 08:55. Thameslink services between Bedford and Gatwick Airport via Redhill will not run. A road replacement service between Gatwick Airport and Purley will call at Redhill. 

Saturday, 25 July – Trains to/from Sheffield and Nottingham will start/terminate at Leicester. Replacement road services will be in place between Leicester and Bedford, and between Corby and Kettering. Thameslink services will run between Bedford and St Pancras.

Thameslink services will not run between Bedford and St Albans from 23:00 on Saturday, 25 until 09:30 on Sunday, 26 July. Road replacement services will be in place.

Sunday, 26 July – Trains to/from Sheffield and Nottingham will start/terminate at Leicester. Replacement road services will be in place between Leicester and Luton, and between Corby and Kettering. Thameslink services will run between Luton and St Pancras. Road replacement services will be in place between Bedford and Luton.

ENDS