Passengers using the East Coast Main Line which links Scotland, the north east of England and London King’s Cross, are being advised to plan ahead as investment in the line will affect services during 13/14 July and August bank holiday.
Outside King’s Cross station work is underway to re-lay 1.5miles of track in a simpler layout and increase the number of tracks into the station from four to six by reopening a disused route through a railway tunnel. The project will also upgrade the signalling system and overhead line equipment.
During the weekend of 13/14 July, Network Rail engineers will remove old signalling cables from the disused railway tunnel in preparation for laying new track, which will take place later this year. During this work the signalling which controls train movements will be out of service on some of the platforms which means a reduced service will run.
A dedicated website giving the most up to date passenger information has been developed. This can be found at http://eastcoastupgrade.co.uk/
The work is part of the East Coast Main Line Upgrade which, once complete, will enable two more long distance trains to run each hour and reduce journey times. The rail industry is working to package the projects which are underway at several locations on the line together to reduce the number of times that passengers are disrupted and allow them to plan their journeys with confidence.
The other significant planned disruption on the East Coast Main Line this year will be during the August bank holiday weekend. Work will take place at various sites between Peterborough and King’s Cross and a complex track layout at Newark will be renewed. This will result in significant disruption affecting the full length of the East Coast Main Line. The train operators who serve London on the route are advising passengers not to travel on 24 and 25 August. Work at Newark will continue on Bank Holiday Monday 26 August, with a reduced train service running and operators are advising passengers to travel either Friday or Tuesday if possible.
Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director at Network Rail, said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to transform rail travel for the millions of people who use the East Coast Main Line every year.
“A project on this scale does inevitably bring disruption and we would like to reassure passengers that we are doing all we can to keep this to a minimum; this includes working incredibly closely with train operators to keep passengers informed of the changes to services.
“Once completed, the East Coast Main Line Upgrade will ensure that we can continue to meet the needs of the communities and economies that our railway serves.”
LNER Safety and Operations Director Warrick Dent said: “Our new Azuma trains will be introduced from next month, and with new trains we need new infrastructure, therefore by upgrading the approach to King’s Cross we will unlock the full journey benefits of the fleet – delivering more trains and quicker journeys.
“We are working closely with Network Rail and the other operators to ensure that our customers are inconvenienced as little as possible throughout this key route upgrade.
“LNER customers, across our entire route, are strongly advised not to travel on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August; and we recommend that they travel Friday and Tuesday, booking a reservation to guarantee a seat, where possible.”
GTR's Infrastructure Director Keith Jipps said: “We welcome the benefits to our passengers that these investments will bring, and we will work closely with Network Rail to limit the inevitable short-term disruption while the work is carried out.
“There will be a reduced service on 13-14 July but the biggest impact will be on 24 and 25 August when passengers are advised not to travel. More information will be made available closer to the date.”
Tom MacLaclan, Commercial and Customer Experience Director at Hull Trains, said: “The essential upgrade works taking place at King’s Cross will enable greater capacity and better reliability for our services and while there will be some changes while the works take place, ultimately, we are delighted that these works will have a positive impact on our customers. The Hull Trains team will be working hard to make sure we continue to connect Hull and East Yorkshire with London throughout this period.
“During this time, we will keep our customers up to date with any changes to their service via the on-board team, on our brand-new website and on social media.”
Richard McClean, Managing Director at Grand Central, said: “As the long-distance passenger champion for overall satisfaction, we know that reliability, affordability and travel experience are key for our customers.
“We welcome this crucial investment in the East Coast Main Line, which will ultimately deliver more and better services and journeys for our passengers and complements our ongoing £9million train refurbishment programme.
“We will be working with Network Rail and other partners to do everything we can to keep our customers informed and keep disruption to a minimum.”
Further, longer packages of work are still being planned by the industry. These will be advertised well in advance to enable passengers to plan ahead.