Your questions

Your questions about the East Coast Main Line Upgrade answered.

A major, multimillion-pound investment that will transform train travel to and from London King’s Cross station by replacing track, signalling and overhead line equipment outside the station.

The project will involve renewing a mile and a half of track, overhead wires and signalling on the approach to King’s Cross station. It will also include re-opening a disused tunnel, adding two more railway lines to the station’s approach.

The upgrade began in December 2018 and outside King’s Cross station work is underway to relay 1.5 miles of track in a simpler layout which will mean faster arrival and departure times, as well as smoother and more reliable journeys. The project will also increase the number of tracks into the station from four to six, through the reopening of one bore of a disused railway tunnel as well as upgrading the signalling system and overhead line equipment.

Once complete, the East Coast Main Line Upgrade will enable two more long distance trains to run each hour and reduce journey times.

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

Timetables are a joint production between all companies using the railway (both passenger and freight related). It is typically published 12 weeks in advance. For our more disruptive works, we appreciate passengers need more notice to effectively plan their journeys and therefore we are working to publish train information in advance of the usual 12 week timeframe.

As soon as a full timetable is available, it will be published and we will inform passengers, businesses and communities immediately.

The King’s Cross Upgrade project is being delivered by a number of key partners including AECOM, Amey, Amco Giffen, Linbrooke, Morgan Sindall Group, Siemens, Specialist Project Integration and Turner Townsend.

The design of the track layout into King’s Cross station is outdated and has become harder to maintain.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 layout has not been improved since it was installed over 40 years ago and is in need of upgrading.

There will be some disruption to train services as we undertake this vital work. Information will be updated and made available in due course online, at stations and on social media. While you should check before you travel, the following disruption will likely occur over the outlined periods:

  • During the weekend of 13/14 July Network Rail engineers will remove old signalling cables from the disused railway tunnel in preparation for laying new track in the tunnel, which will take place later this year. During this work the signalling which controls train movements will be out of service on some of the platforms which means a slightly reduced service will run.
  • The only other planned disruption on the East Coast Main Line this year is on 24, 25 and 26 of August, the August bank holiday weekend. Customers are strongly advised DO NOT TRAVEL on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August.

Work will take at Newark and the southern end of the route from Peterborough to King’s Cross, this includes an overhead line equipment (OLE) portal being installed and station work taking place as part of the Stevenage Turnback project.

The upgrade is a multi-million pound investment and is funded under the Railway Upgrade Plan – a vital part of the East Coast Main Line. Visit Network Rail for further information on this Upgrade Plan.

The King’s Cross Upgrade will improve track, overhead wires and signalling on this key route into London to meet the future demands of one of the UK’s busiest train stations, which currently serves 33.8 million passengers a year.

Once the King’s Cross Upgrade is completed in 2021, the station will benefit from more passenger services and a simpler and more reliable track layout for quicker, smoother journeys with new trains.

Along with other improvements on the route, such as constructing a dive-under just north of Peterborough, it will support the increase from 6 to 8 passenger trains per hour in each direction at peak times between London and York/Leeds.

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

  • The upgrade work will create a layout with the operational flexibility to run LNER’s new Azuma trains and Hull Train’s new fleet, with the benefits of increased speed and acceleration.
  • The simplified layout will also make the railway digital ready.
  • Long distance services (LNER, Hull Trains and Grand Central) will be separated from more frequent short distance commuter trains.
  • The overhead line equipment infrastructure will be upgraded, further reducing the need for regular maintenance.

All projects, particularly those on the railway, work best when the industry works together to look after passengers while also delivering major investment.

In addition, we are working closely with Transport Focus, the independent transport user watchdog, who are helping us to engage with passengers and monitor the effectiveness of our communications campaign.

We will also be utilising best practice and lessons learned from other successful campaigns, including the Waterloo & South West Upgrade, Bath Spa, Nottingham Remodelling, Birmingham New Street and Liverpool Lime Street projects.

The project also provides the once in a lifetime opportunity to address the Camden sewer, which creates a number of issues due to its proximity to the operating railway, including track compliance, reliability and reduced speed. This will allow us to also provide drainage fit for the next 50 years.