As people open their presents and sit down for Christmas dinner, hundreds of Network Rail engineers will continue work on a major project to install a dive under, a tunnel under the railway, just outside of Peterborough station as part of the East Coast Upgrade.

Between the last service on Tuesday, 24 December and the first service on Friday, 27 December, and on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 January, workers will move railway tracks to make space for the new dive under. Once complete, the dive under will remove the need for slow moving freight trains to cross over the East Coast Main Line meaning high speed passengers trains will no longer need to slow down on the approach to the area. The project, when combined with upgrades elsewhere along the route, will mean greater capacity for passenger services on the line.

This work is an essential part of the East Coast Upgrade, which is a £1.2billion project to regenerate the infrastructure along the East Coast Main Line. It also includes major work to simplify the track layout at King’s Cross station and build a new bay platform at Stevenage. Once completed, it will bring significant benefits to passengers including up to 10,000 extra seats per day, more frequent services, faster services and a more reliable railway.

Network Rail carries out major work on Christmas Day and Boxing Day when there are no timetabled services. This avoids disruption for passengers at busier times of the year and means good progress can be made on the upgrade. Passengers are urged to check with National Rail Enquiries or their train operator before travelling over the festive period.

As usual, there will be no services on Christmas Day or Boxing Day in this area and no bus replacement services will run on these days. There will be a reduced service between Peterborough and London King's Cross until 13:00 on Friday, 27 December.

The project also means that there will also be a reduced service between Peterborough and London King's Cross on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 January. Some trains will divert via Cambridge, meaning journey times will be extended by up to 90 minutes. Bus replacement services will be in place between Hitchin and Peterborough. Passengers are encouraged to check before they travel and leave plenty of time for their journey.

Caroline Smith is a Scheme Project Manager for Network Rail and has worked on the railway for 20 years. Caroline will be  working on the project over the festive period. 

Caroline said: “The work we are carrying out over Christmas is really important to make sure that progress on this vital project stays on track.

“Over the festive period, my role will be to oversee the work and make sure it runs on schedule. This work is an important part of the East Coast Upgrade, which will bring significant benefits to passengers, including more services, more seats and faster journeys. 

“I do enjoy working over the festive period. There is a good team spirit and we enjoy a few decorations and some mince pies, however after this, it's minds on the job.”