Aerial view of Kings Cross station

We’re getting ready for our next bank holiday improvements across Britain as we welcome you back to the railway.

Essential upgrades worth £105m this August bank holiday will help us give you better and more reliable journeys for the long term.

Some train services will be different as we carry out our work between 29 and 31 August but most will run as normal. Please check your journey in advance with your train operator or on National Rail Enquiries. You can also follow #AugustBHWorks on Twitter.

Remember you must wear a face covering during your journey unless you’re exempt from the Government’s rules. For example, if you have a visible or hidden disability, or breathing difficulties.

You can read more about face coverings and exemptions here.

Our team hard during the May bank holiday to replace track

We’ve worked hard throughout the pandemic to improve journeys by maintaining and upgrading the railway for when more people start to use trains again. We’re also cleaning our stations even more than we used to and have more staff on hand to help you with information and to travel safely.

What are we doing this bank holiday?

We’ve got 520 projects lined up, from laying new track to maintaining bridges and testing the overhead lines that power electric trains. They include:

  • Track replacement in the Coventry area to make journeys more reliable on the West Coast Main Line, which runs from London Euston up to Scotland. Track gets worn from lots of trains travelling on it, so we need to maintain it regularly – and replace it eventually so it stays safe.
  • Signalling upgrades in Cheshire. We’re moving the control of signals – basically the traffic lights of the railway – from Ditton in Cheshire to a modern signalling centre (Rail Operating Centre) in Manchester. This means signallers will be able to reduce delays for you during problems on the railway by responding to disruption and re-routing trains faster.
  • Track and signalling upgrades in the London St Pancras International area that will improve safety. Work here will also help us prepare to build Brent Cross West railway station in London, which we expect to open in 2022.
  • Lots of work at London King’s Cross as part of a bigger project to shorten journeys and allow more trains in the long term on the East Coast Main Line. This line runs out of King’s Cross station and up to northern Scotland. The track layout outside the station needs updating because it’s become difficult to maintain after 40 years and trains in the area need more space.

Gallery: the tracks outside London King's Cross, London St Pancras International, track renewals and a modern signalling centre (Rail Operating Centre).

Why we carry out big projects over bank holidays

We know it can be frustrating when we close some parts of the railway during bank holiday weekends but it’s the least disruptive time to carry out such big jobs.

We get asked a lot why this is. Let's take a closer look…

There’s never a perfect time to close railway lines but in normal times, doing so over bank holidays affects far fewer passengers than on a typical working day.

We often need 24 hours to safely complete our projects, like laying new track or upgrading signals. To do this, we sometimes need to close parts of the railway to trains. We try to do this at quiet times, like overnight or at weekends, and especially during the long bank holiday weekends.

Here are just some of the things we need to consider when planning these improvements:

  • agree timetable changes with train and freight companies
  • access to land
  • allocation of equipment
  • supplies and materials
  • making sure other projects don’t clash
  • contingency plans
  • the right people in the right places – all over Britain.

You can read more about how we prepare for these big projects here.

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