• No trains in or out of London King’s Cross on Saturday, 20 and Sunday, 21 June so new overhead line equipment can be installed.
  • Project is part of £1.2billion upgrade which will deliver more trains, thousands of extra seats and more reliable journeys between London, the north, and Scotland.
  • Under current COVID-19 guidance, journeys should only be made if they are necessary, and those needing to travel should avoid using public transport wherever possible. It is now mandatory to wear a face covering when using public transport.

Network Rail and train operators on the East Coast Main Line are reminding passengers not to travel to or from London King’s Cross or on Thameslink services via Finsbury Park this weekend (Saturday, 20 and Sunday, 21 June) as the next stage of work on the huge East Coast Upgrade continues.

When complete, the £1.2billion upgrade will allow more long-distance trains to run each hour, creating capacity for up to 10,000 extra seats a day on services along the East Coast Main Line, which connects London with the north and Scotland. The project will also deliver faster, more reliable journeys.

On 20 and 21 June, Network Rail will be installing new overhead line equipment as part of work to reopen a disused railway tunnel on the approach to King’s Cross. The extra space will allow additional tracks to be laid, meaning that more trains can enter and exit the station. In order for the improvements to be made safely, trains will not be able to enter or exit the station over the two days. All of the work is being done in line with social distancing guidance.

On LNER services, there will be no trains between St Neots and London Kings Cross. Three trains per hour will run to and from St Neots serving Leeds, Newcastle and Scotland, and other trains will terminate at other locations or will be cancelled. At present, there is no alternative transport between St Neots and London Kings Cross.

Network Rail is also reminding passengers to consider whether their journey is necessary in line with current COVID-19 guidance. Those who cannot work from home and need to travel should avoid public transport where possible. It is now mandatory for all station users in England – passengers and staff – to wear a face covering to protect themselves and others. However, some passengers are exempt, including young children, disabled people, and those with breathing difficulties.

Those who have to travel by train this weekend should check their journey ahead of time via EastCoastUpgrade.co.uk, National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator. To help people plan their journeys, National Rail have launched new tech to alert passengers of busy trains and stations before they leave home, however people should still avoid public transport where possible.

Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail, said: “The COVID-19 crisis continues to bring significant challenges for the railway, however we are working day and night to keep the railway running reliably and safely and to carry out essential work.

“On Saturday, 20 and Sunday, 21 June, we will continue with a vital project to upgrade the East Coast Main Line in a £1.2billion investment. We’ve changed our working methods on site to make sure we can follow Public Health Guidelines and carry on with this project which will bring significant benefits for passengers.

“We’d like to remind everyone that they should only be making journeys that are necessary, but if you do need to travel, please seek alternative travel arrangements. Bus replacement services will be in place, but journey times will be significantly longer than usual.”

A spokesperson on behalf of train operators on the route, said: “We appreciate any engineering work can cause inconvenience, but this work is really important to make sure we have a railway which can meet the needs of communities and economies along the route for the long term. We thank our passengers in advance for their understanding and flexibility.

“The work will mean more reliable, more frequent and faster services with more seats, improving travel for our passengers. We’d urge passengers to continue to follow the Government advice to only travel when necessary, and to avoid use of public transport where possible at this time. If you have to travel please remember to wear a face covering and check how your journey will be affected by visiting EastCoastUpgrade.co.uk, National Rail Enquiries or check with your specific train operator.”