Network Rail and East Midlands Railway are urging passengers to check before travelling over the festive period as there will be eight days of changes to services in the region.
Between 22:00 on Christmas Eve and Saturday, 4 January, Network Rail engineers will install the final sections of track, completing the construction of the fourth track between Bedford and Kettering before testing and commissioning the new line.
The work is part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade and, once complete, will increase capacity on the line, ultimately allowing more services to run in the future and connecting people to more jobs, education and leisure opportunities.
To allow this work to take place safely, no trains will be able to run between Market Harborough and Bedford or between Bedford and Corby from 22:00 on Christmas Eve to 08:00 on Thursday, 2 January 2020. Instead, bus replacement services will be in place on these routes. A near full train service will resume on Thursday, 2 January.
However, between Thursday, 2 January and Saturday, 4 January, buses will replace trains between Bedford and Market Harborough and between Bedford and Corby before 08:00 and after 21:30 while further minor work is carried out ahead of a full reopening.
Passengers planning on travelling during this time are strongly urged to check before travelling via National Rail Enquiries or with East Midlands Railway. Travellers are also urged to allow additional time for their journey.
As usual, there will be no train services on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. Network Rail uses this time to carry out hundreds of maintenance and upgrade projects across the country. There will be no bus replacement services in place on these days.
Gavin Crook, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail, said: “The work we are doing over the festive period is a key step in the Midland Main Line Upgrade, which will bring huge benefits for passengers across the region.
“There will be eight days of changes for passengers which is why we are urging them to plan ahead as we don’t want anyone to be disappointed. We would like to reassure passengers that this work has been planned meticulously and we are working closely with East Midlands Railway to keep passengers moving.
“We’d like to thank passengers for their patience during this time and apologise for any disruption caused.”
Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director, East Midlands Railway, said: “We are approaching the final stages of the Midland Main Line Upgrade which will allow us to provide quicker journeys and thousands of extra seats from December 2020.
“However, there is still more work to be done, including this Christmas period. So, I would urge passengers to check before they travel and understand the changes to their journeys during the Christmas period.”