Huntingdon to Woodwalton – improvement programme

We are reinstating track between Huntingdon Station and Woodwalton to remove a critical bottleneck between the North and London.

This will allow fast trains to overtake slower ones, and in combination with other schemes increase the number of high speed services that can run.

lne huntingdon to woodwalton illustration of reinstated fourth track

Huntingdon to Woodwalton illustration of reinstated fourth track

As part of Network Rail’s funding from the government, the Secretary of State for Transport has recognised the importance of improving capacity and reducing journey times on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) between Scotland, the North East, Yorkshire, Eastern England and London. In combination with the proposed introduction of new rolling stock, other schemes on the ECML and the revision of the existing timetable, this project will help to deliver additional capacity on the ECML.

As part of this programme we are working on a scheme to reinstate the fourth track on the east side of the railway between Huntingdon station and Woodwalton in Cambridgeshire, known as Huntingdon to Woodwalton Four Tracking. This scheme is a vital aspect of our plans and will remove a critical bottleneck between London and the North.

An early deliverable of the scheme is the permanent closure of Abbots Ripton level crossing in advance of the reinstatement of the fourth track (Phase 2 of the scheme).

The Scheme

A deliverable of the Huntingdon to Woodwalton Four Tracking scheme is the permanent closure of Abbots Ripton level crossing. Network Rail is committed to reducing risk at level crossings.

The implementation of this scheme requires the permanent closure of Abbots Ripton Level Crossing and diversion of the existing bridleway to remove the conflict associated with the public right of way over the main line and to allow the implementation of the works to reinstate the fourth track, leading to more frequent trains and reduced journey times.

Following public consultation to close the level crossing, and acting on feedback, a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) application was submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport on 20 January 2017.

In November 2017 the Secretary of State for Transport confirmed that we can conduct the work to close Abbots Ripton Level Crossing. This includes diversion of the bridleway associated with the crossing.

Closing the crossing and diverting it further south, underneath the railway, makes the walking route safer. It also reduces the impact of the installation of the fourth track in the vicinity of Abbots Ripton.

Work to close the level cross will begin this winter and the bridleway diversion is expected to be completed in summer 2018.

Phases of the scheme

Timelines for the scheme are still being confirmed, but the following outlines the broad approach that we are planning to follow to reinstate the fourth track.

More information

You can still view the consultation materials on our  Huntington to Woodwalton Four Tracking consultation website.  A summary of the feedback submitted during consultation is included in the Consultation Report which forms part of the TWAO application documents.

If you have any questions, please contact the project team at or call our 24-hour National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41.