Network Rail is urging passengers in Northamptonshire to plan ahead as the latest stage of the Midland Main Line Upgrade takes place this weekend.

On Saturday, 11 and Sunday, 12 May, Network Rail engineers will install four new sets of points, the specialist piece of equipment which allows trains to move from one piece of track to another, at Sharnbrook Junction, which is on the line between Kettering and Bedford.

The work is vital in the construction of a new line between Bedford and Kettering, which will enable more services to run, specifically providing the capacity to run six trains per hour to London St Pancras by the end of 2020, up from the current five per hour.

To allow the work to be carried out safely, no trains will be able to run on the line between Bedford and Corby and services will be affected in the following way:

  • Trains will start/terminate at Corby
  • Trains will not operate between Wellingborough and Bedford
  • Rail replacement buses will operate between Corby, Wellingborough and Bedford
  • Trains will operate between Bedford and London St Pancras International but will not call at Luton or Luton Airport Parkway
  • Journey times will be significantly extended

Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “I would urge all passengers planning to travel between Bedford and Corby this weekend to plan ahead and check before they travel as work takes place as part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade.

“This work is really important and is the latest stage of work to construct a fourth rail line between Bedford and Kettering which will provide the capacity for more services to run. This will enable us to continue to railway which meets the needs of the passengers, communities and economies we serve.

“There’s never a good time to work on the railway, we do so at the weekend as it is a time when fewer people travel, but we do understand it can still cause disruption and we do apologise for this.”

Jake Kelly, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, said: “As the Midland Main Line Upgrade work continues, we are advising any passengers travelling to Bedford and Corby on the 11th and 12th May to check before they travel as their journeys will be disrupted.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the disruption during this time.”