Your questions

Your questions about the East Coast Upgrade answered.

The £1.2bn that is being invested in the upgrade will improve train service reliability, allow more long-distance trains to run each hour and reduce journey times for passengers.

This is important as the East Coast Main Line is a vital network that carries 20 million passengers every year, linking London to Edinburgh via cities such as Peterborough, York and Newcastle along the way. There are also direct links to many other cities such as Hull, Leeds, Sunderland and Cambridge.

Early improvement works have already taken place to get the line ready for the new train fleets, such as the LNER Azuma.

Now the work that is taking place through to 2021 is focused on three key areas, London King’s Cross, Newark and Stevenage.

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There will be some planned disruption to train services as we undertake this essential work. Information for customers will be made available at stations, through advertising and on social media as soon as possible.

Trains and replacement bus times (where applicable) are available in journey planners, such as the National Rail Enquiries website – www. and the individual train operator websites

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 customers are disrupted and allow them to plan their journeys with confidence.

You can find more details of the work taking place at Newark and Stevenage:


A key element of the programme is the King’s Cross Track Improvement. Once completed in 2021 it will enable two more long distance trains to run each hour, improve reliability and reduce journey times for passengers.

The multi-million pound improvement at King’s Cross will help to transform train travel in and out of the station by replacing 1.5 miles of track, signalling and overhead line equipment at the approach.

The work increases the number of tracks into the station from four to six, through the re-opening of a disused railway tunnel.

The current design of the track layout into King’s Cross station is outdated and has become harder to maintain. While the station itself was modernised in 2012, the existing track and signalling at the approach has not been improved since it was installed over 40 years ago.

In addition, the signalling system from King’s Cross to Peterborough is being transferred from the King’s Cross Signal Box to the Railway Operation Centre in York as part of Network Rail’s nationwide re-signalling programme. This will allow for the signal box at King’s Cross to be demolished, opening up the space for the new tracks into the re-opened tunnel.

Over the weekend of 13/14th July work began at King’s Cross station to remove old signalling equipment from the disused railway tunnel in preparation for laying new track.

Further work took place over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Details of future dates will be announced shortly.


Upgrades to the infrastructure (particularly track layout and overhead line equipment) in the approach to King’s Cross Station will:

  • Create a layout with the operational flexibility to run LNER’s new Azuma trains and Hull Trains’ new fleet, with the benefits of increased speed and acceleration.
  • Separate long-distance services (LNER, Hull Trains and Grand Central) from the more frequent short distance commuter trains. (Great Northern, Thameslink).
  • Allow greater capacity for long-distance services in time for the new Open Access Operator from First Group to start running services between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh by the end of 2021.
  • Upgrade overhead line equipment further reducing the need for regular maintenance.
  • Simplify the track layout so that it can support the digital railway, helping to deliver more trains, reduced crowding, better connections and improved performance and safety for passengers.

Projects work best when the industry works together to look after customers, while delivering major investments.

We will be using the best practice and lessons learned from many other successful projects, including the Brighton Main Line improvement, the Waterloo & South West upgrade, the Bath Spa station improvement, Nottingham re-modelling, as well as the Birmingham New Street and Liverpool Lime Street station projects.

In addition, we are working closely with Transport Focus, the independent transport user watchdog, who are helping us to survey customers over the summer to monitor the effectiveness of our communications.