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King’s Uncrossed – Crucial stage of £1.2billion East Coast Upgrade fast approaching

Engineers work on the tracks and overhead line equipment at London King's Cross station.

8 February 2021

No trains in or out of London King’s Cross, Moorgate, or to or from St Pancras International via Finsbury Park, on Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 February, ahead of a crucial stage of work to install a new simplified track layout between March and June
• The work is part of the East Coast Upgrade, which will transform journeys between London, Cambridgeshire, the North of England and Scotland
• Passengers who must travel for essential reasons are urged to check their journeys.

Network Rail teams are gearing up to carry out a major stage of the £1.2billion upgrade to the East Coast Main Line, which is the biggest investment into the route in a generation.

Over a three-month period, rail workers will simplify the track layout just outside of King’s Cross station, as well as reopen a railway tunnel which closed in the 1970s, creating two extra tracks in and out of the iconic transport hub.

Both pieces of work will make it easier for trains to enter and exit London King’s Cross station, reducing congestion and creating smoother, more reliable and more punctual journeys for passengers.

To enable the reduced service to run during the three months, Network Rail teams will make essential changes to the signalling and tracks in the area, with this work taking place between Friday 26 and Sunday 28 February (inclusive). During this time, no trains will run to or from London King’s Cross, Moorgate or to or from St Pancras International via Finsbury Park.

The following changes will be in place:

LNER services:

• Most LNER services to/from the north of England and Scotland will start/end at Peterborough
• Two trains per hour will start/end at St Neots, where passengers can use replacement coach services to Bedford, to connect with trains between Bedford and St Pancras International
• Passengers travelling on all LNER services must have a seat reservation

Great Northern and Thameslink services:

Friday 26 February – Trains to and from Cambridge and Peterborough will start and end at Potters Bar, where passengers can connect to London Underground services. Trains to and from Welwyn Garden City will start and end at New Barnet and services to and from Stevenage via Hertford North will start and end at Gordon Hill.
Saturday 27 February – Trains to and from Cambridge and Peterborough will start and end at Stevenage. Trains to and from Stevenage via Hertford North will start and end at Gordon Hill.
Sunday 28 February – Trains to and from Cambridge and Peterborough will start and end at Hitchin. Services to and from Stevenage via Hertford North will be extended to Letchworth Garden City and will start and end at Gordon Hill.

Additional improvements to the track are also taking place on Sunday 14 February, which means buses will replace trains between Peterborough and Hitchin. On Sunday 21 February, no trains will run between Stevenage and Alexandra Palace.

People must continue to follow the latest Government guidance and stay at home, except for limited reasons. Those who need to make essential journeys are strongly advised to check before travelling via National Rail Enquiries, at EastCoastUpgrade.co.uk or their train operator’s website.

Passengers are also encouraged to allow plenty of time as journeys will take longer and passengers may need to change trains or use replacement bus services. To support social distancing, there may also be queuing systems at some stations.

This work will allow hundreds of rail workers to simplify the track layout at King’s Cross station between March and June. They will also reopen a railway tunnel which closed in the 1970s, creating two extra tracks in and out of the iconic transport hub. Both pieces of work will make it easier for trains to enter and exit King’s Cross station, reducing congestion and creating smoother, more reliable and more punctual journeys for passengers.

There may be some changes to train times and passengers making essential journeys over the next three months are strongly advised to check before travelling. There will also be two weekends, one in April and one in June, when no trains will be able to call at London King’s Cross. A full service will run once more from Monday 7 June.

Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade, said:

“Our teams are busy making sure that everything is ready for the latest stage of this industry leading project. The work we’re doing at the end of this month is vital to enable train services to run in and out of King’s Cross station when we close half of the platforms between March and June.

“This East Coast Upgrade is a truly transformative programme, which will bring significant and tangible benefits, such as more reliable journeys on the East Coast Main Line. Once again like to thank all those impacted by this work for their patience.”

David Horne, LNER Managing Director, said:

“We understand this crucial work may disrupt customers’ travel plans over the next few months and we appreciate their understanding. When completed, this project will bring long-term benefits for customers and communities along the East Coast route.

“This is a crucial stage of the East Coast Upgrade programme that will see two new tracks installed inside the new tunnel and signalling system, which will allow LNER to operate faster, more frequent services connecting London, the North of England and Scotland. Customers who need to travel on the dates affected should plan ahead as we work with Network Rail to deliver the benefits of this major investment.”

Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director at Thameslink and Great Northern, said:

“Just 15% of the normal number of people are travelling with us at the moment due to coronavirus restrictions. I would urge anyone whose journey is essential to plan ahead for this three-day closure of King’s Cross station which includes a weekday, Friday. Advice for passengers is available online now and our staff will be ready to help on the day.”

Limited replacement bus services will run across multiple routes on Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 February:

St Neots – Bedford for connections to/from St Pancras International on Thameslink services
Hitchin – Luton Airport Parkway for connections to/from St Pancras International on Thameslink services
Stevenage – Potters Bar (Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 February only)
Potters Bar – Cockfosters Underground Station for connections to/from Central London on the Piccadilly Line
Potters Bar – St Albans City for connections to/from St Pancras International on Thameslink services
• All stations between Gordon Hill and Alexandra Palace (change at Bowes Park station for connections to/from Central London at nearby Bounds Green Underground station)

Network Rail has announced dates where there will be no services or a reduced service to and from London King’s Cross. Passengers who must travel are strongly advised to plan their journeys in advance.

Friday 23, Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 April – No services to or from King’s Cross Station for all three days or to or from St Pancras International via Finsbury Park on the Saturday and Sunday.
Friday 4 June – From midday no services to or from King’s Cross Station or to or from St Pancras International via Finsbury Park.
Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 June – No services to or from King’s Cross Station or to or from St Pancras International via Finsbury Park.

Big Push – Network Rail installs 11,000 tonne railway tunnel in UK first

The tunnel at Werrington afterhaving been pushed into place

25 January 2021

An 11,000 tonne curved concrete box has been successfully pushed under the East Coast Main Line near Peterborough, in a first for UK engineering.

Over the past nine days, Network Rail teams reached this major milestone in the project to build a new tunnel at Werrington, north of Peterborough, which will enable slower moving freight trains to dive underneath the famous passenger route and use an adjacent line northwards.

This time-lapse footage shows the 155-metre curved concrete box tunnel, which is heavier than the Eiffel Tower, being pushed into place at just 150cm per hour, using four hydraulic jacks.

This is the first time that a curved concrete box has been installed using this industry-leading engineering technique in the UK.

It took nine days, but using this cutting-edge technique avoided hundreds of hours of passenger disruption on this vital part of the East Coast Main Line and meant that services could continue running throughout.

Teams removed three of the tracks, lifted the overhead wires and dug out spoil from the site. Once the tunnel was eventually underneath, they then put everything back in place ready for regular services to resume. The work was carried out safely, in line with Government Covid guidance.

Paul Rutter, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Coast Route, said:

“Our teams have completed this challenging piece of engineering in a creative way, which also allowed a reduced train service to continue for those who still had to travel.

“Over the nine days, we’ve made major progress on this vital project which will bring faster, more reliable journeys for passengers on the East Coast Main Line.

“I’m so proud that this project has shown itself to be one which is industry leading and that our teams have had the opportunity to use this new technique for the first time in the UK on one of the country’s most famous railway lines.”

David Horne, LNER Managing Director, said:

“This essential part of the East Coast Upgrade will allow faster, more frequent LNER services between London, the North of England and Scotland by creating a new and improved route for slower trains to cross the main line.

“We look forward to working with Network Rail on the remaining East Coast Upgrade engineering works in the first half of this year, so that we can deliver the benefits for our customers and communities of this significant investment.”

The next stage of the project at Werrington involves work to install two new tracks inside the new tunnel and the associated signalling system, ready for it to come into use at the end of 2021.

The project is part of the £1.2billion East Coast Upgrade. Once complete, it will bring a more reliable railway with more choice for passengers, as well as faster journeys between London, the North of England and Scotland.

Further south, teams are continuing with major work to install overhead line equipment and improve the signalling in and around London King’s Cross. For this work to take place safely, there will be no trains to or from King’s Cross on Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 January.

Passengers travelling to or from the north on the East Coast Main Line that weekend will need to transfer at Peterborough for rail replacement coaches, which connect to Thameslink services between Bedford and St Pancras International.

People must continue to follow the latest Government guidance and stay at home, except for limited reasons. Those who must travel are strongly advised to check their journeys via National Rail Enquiries, at EastCoastUpgrade.co.uk or on their train operator’s website and allow plenty of time.

11,000 tonne tunnel to be installed on the railway in first for UK engineering

An aerial view of the new tunnel at Werrington - image credit: Network Rail Air Operations
Aerial view of the new tunnel at Werrington. Image credit: Network Rail Air Operations

11 January 2021

  • Massive concrete structure to be pushed under the East Coast Main Line as part of £1.2bn East Coast Upgrade
  • Major works take place over nine days between 16 and 24 January
  • Hundreds of hours of passenger disruption to be avoided by industry-leading engineering technique
  • New tunnel will separate slow-moving freight from long-distance passenger trains – speeding up journeys and improving reliability

A massive 11,000 tonne curved concrete box is to be pushed under one of the country’s most famous railway lines in a first for UK engineering.

The structure, which weighs more than the Eiffel Tower, is being installed in a painstaking nine-day operation as part of the £1.2bn upgrade of the East Coast Main Line.

Engineers have spent the last nine months building the new tunnel by the side of the East Coast Main Line as trains have sped past between London and Edinburgh.

And now the massive concrete construction is ready to be pushed into place along pre-installed guiding supports, after the three tracks above have been temporarily removed.

Using a traditional method of installing a tunnel on the crucial stretch of the line would have meant closing it completely for about a month. But the pre-constructed structure will be installed in just nine days – and means a reduced level of service will be able to operate at the same time.

Paul Rutter, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Coast Route, said:

“This is a massive engineering challenge, but it will avoid hundreds of hours of closure on one of the most important lines in the country.

“This is industry leading work that really puts the needs of passengers first in how we approach improvement work.

“In the past, Network Rail might have approached this problem by thinking about the easiest way to do the engineering. Instead, I’m proud to say we have come up with a creative and innovative solution that will deliver massive benefits while keeping disruption to a minimum.”

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton Harris, said:

“This is an astonishing feat, underlining this country’s reputation for pioneering engineering and delivering major upgrades for passengers.

“By undertaking a project of this magnitude now we are making the most of our railways being quieter, putting in place vital new infrastructure that will improve our railways for when passengers are safe to return.”

The work is being carried out at Werrington, north of Peterborough, where the East Coast Main Line is crossed by a slow-moving east-west freight route. Installing the tunnel will take slower freight trains off the fast route, speeding up services and improving reliability, while also reducing the amount of maintenance required on that section of track.

The new tunnel is a 155-metre curved concrete box that will be painstakingly pushed at 150cm per hour, using massive jacks to propel and steer it into place. It will be the first time this construction technique has been used in this way in the UK.

Hydraulic jacks attached to the new railway tunnel at Werrington

While the line will be kept open during the work, it will mean a very limited number of services will run south of Grantham during the nine-day piece of work. Passengers who must travel are asked to plan ahead and think about whether journeys are necessary while the installation is carried out.

Network Rail is also continuing with essential work at London King’s Cross, which will impact on train services on weekends throughout January. Teams will be installing new overhead line equipment and improving the signalling. The work is being carried out safely, in line with Government guidance.

People should continue to follow the latest Government guidance and must stay at home except for limited reasons. If you need to travel, you should walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead to avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Passengers are strongly advised to check their journeys via National Rail Enquiries, at EastCoastUpgrade.co.uk or on their train operator’s website and allow plenty of time.

A spokesperson on behalf of train operators on the route said:

“Passengers should only travel south of Grantham during these nine days if they have to. We strongly advise people to check before they travel and allow plenty of time as journeys will take longer.

“We thank our passengers for their patience whilst this essential work on the East Coast Upgrade, which will bring more services and a more reliable railway for passengers, is carried out.”

Network Rail reaches major milestone on £1.2billion East Coast Upgrade as all four tracks into King’s Cross are lifted for the first time in decades to allow sewer reconstruction

Engineers dig out the railway tracks at London King's Cross station in order to carry out major works as part of the East Coast Upgrade project.

5 January 2021

  • Major progress was made at King’s Cross during a six-day closure over Christmas, including work to reconstruct Camden Sewer which runs beneath the tracks
  • Network Rail and train operators on the East Coast Main Line are thanking passengers for their patience following the six-day closure at King’s Cross
  • Teams lifted all four tracks entering the station for the first time in over 40 years
  • The East Coast Upgrade will bring a more modern, reliable railway for passengers, improving journeys between London, the North of England and Scotland

A central London sewer was diverted and rebuilt in just nine days during major Christmas works on the £1.2billion upgrade of the East Coast Main Line.

Train access to King’s Cross is being completely revamped as part of the huge project to provide better services into and out of one of the country’s biggest stations – meaning major work on a sewer running beneath the tracks.

A hugely complex engineering challenge meant teams had to remove all four tracks into the station for the first time in 40 years; dig out Camden Sewer from beneath them; divert, rebuild and strengthen the sewer; then relay the tracks in time for passenger services to resume on Monday morning.

3,200 litres of water per second passes through the sewer, the equivalent to around 12,800 five-minute showers. Teams also had to remove 850 tonnes of spoil from the sewer as part of the work.

Work was also carried out to install new overhead line equipment, renew some of the tracks around the station and install over 100 new pieces of signalling equipment, which will bring more reliable journeys for passengers.

The COVID-19 pandemic and government guidelines brought changes to the programme of work on the East Coast Upgrade. This complex part of the project was re-planned and completed on time, ready for a reduced service to run from Thursday 31 December and a full service to resume from Monday 4 January.

People should continue to follow the latest Government guidance by staying at home to help tackle the spread of COVID-19 and only travelling if they have to.

Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade, said:

“This was an incredible, industry-leading piece of work by Network Rail engineers and our suppliers.

“Digging out and rebuilding a major sewer would have been a complex engineering challenge at any time, even without all the additional problems of working during the pandemic. But it was delivered without a hitch and without causing any extra disruption for passengers.

“I’d like to thank passengers for bearing with us while we completed the work – it will help us deliver a better and more railway for you in the future.”

A spokesperson on behalf of train operators on the route said:

“We’re thanking our passengers for their patience whilst major work was carried out at London King’s Cross over the festive period. The East Coast Upgrade will bring more reliable journeys for passengers on the East Coast Main Line.

“People should continue to follow Government guidance and those who have to travel are strongly advised to check their journey in advance.”

The next vital stage of work on the East Coast Upgrade project takes place at Werrington, north of Peterborough, over nine days in January. A new tunnel will allow slower freight services to dive under the East Coast Main Line instead of crossing it, making more space for additional passenger services.

From Saturday 16 to Sunday 24 January, three of the East Coast Main Line tracks will be removed and the concrete box structure, which will carry the new lines, will be pushed into place. During this time, there will be limited services on the East Coast Main Line between Grantham and Peterborough.

Some passengers may have to complete part of their journey by rail replacement services, and people travelling to and from Scotland may additionally need to change trains at Newcastle. All passengers who need to travel are strongly advised to plan their journeys in advance.

Final reminder to passengers of major service changes on the East Coast Main Line as £1.2billion upgrade continues over Christmas

Text reads "Do not travel to or from London King's Cross, Friday 25 December to Wednesday 30 December".

  • Stay at home or stay local to help tackle the spread of COVID-19
  • If you have to travel on the East Coast Main Line, check your journey and allow plenty of time

22 December 2020

Network Rail and train operators on the East Coast Main Line are reminding passengers who need to travel over the Christmas period to check their journeys to avoid disappointment, as major work takes place on the £1.2billion East Coast Upgrade, including a six-day closure at London King’s Cross and altered services up to and including Sunday 3 January.

People must follow the latest Government guidance over the Christmas period and stay at home or stay local to help tackle the spread of COVID-19. The new restrictions also mean that people should not travel into or out of London, which is now a Tier 4 area.

Those who must travel on the East Coast Main Line should allow plenty of time as services which are running are expected to be busy. Passengers can check how their journeys will be affected by visiting eastcoastupgrade.co.uk or their train operator’s website.

Once complete, the East Coast Upgrade will transform journeys between London, Peterborough, the North of England and Scotland. It will bring a more modern, reliable railway for passengers and ensure the route has more capacity to deal with future passenger volumes.

Between Christmas Day and Wednesday 30 December (inclusive), Network Rail teams will be reconstructing, strengthening and diverting Camden Sewer, which runs beneath the railway just outside King’s Cross. This complex part of the project, which involves lifting a large section of all the tracks that serve the station, can only be carried out safely when there are no trains running in the area for six days. New overhead line equipment will also be installed, as well as work to renew some of the tracks.

Thursday 24 December 2020 – Network Rail has reduced the amount of work which will take place on Christmas Eve to enable some additional services to run on this date, although services will finish earlier in the evening, which is normal for Christmas Eve. Services are expected to be very busy, and passengers on long distance services will need a seat reservation.

Friday 25 and Saturday 26 December 2020 – As usual on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, there will be no services running on the East Coast Main Line, and no alternative services will be provided.

Sunday 27 December 2020 – There will be no trains in or out of London King’s Cross.

LNER services to and from the north will start and finish at either Peterborough or Stevenage and connecting trains will run to and from Finsbury Park or St Pancras International, but these are expected to be very busy. London Underground services will be available between Central London and Finsbury Park station.  Long distance passengers travelling north from London are advised to start their journey from either St Pancras International or Finsbury Park, which is expected to be very busy.

Great Northern and Thameslink services which would normally run to and from London King’s Cross will start and finish at Finsbury Park instead.  People who need to travel are advised to use London Underground services to and from Finsbury Park, or alternative services in or out of Moorgate.

A limited service to and from Cambridge and Stevenage will continue to serve St Pancras International.

Monday 28 to Wednesday 30 December 2020 – There will be no trains in or out of London King’s Cross.

LNER services to and from the north will start and finish at either Peterborough or Stevenage and connecting trains will run to and from St Pancras International, but these are expected to be busy.  Long distance passengers travelling north from London are advised to start their journey from St Pancras International.

Great Northern and Thameslink services which would normally run to and from London King’s Cross will start and finish at Finsbury Park instead.  Thameslink services via St Pancras International will continue to run as normal, but these are expected to be busy.

London Underground services will be available between Central London and Finsbury Park station, and alternative services to some local destinations run to and from Moorgate.

Thursday 31 December 2020 to Sunday 3 January 2021 – There will be a reduced service to and from London King’s Cross. Trains are expected to be busy.

Passengers must have seat reservations on all LNER services. Grand Central will not run any services between 25 December and 1 January. Hull Trains will not run between 25 December and 30 December.

Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade, said:

“This six-day closure from Christmas Day is essential so we can reach a major milestone on the East Coast Upgrade, which once complete, will bring a more reliable railway for passengers and help meet future demand.

“We know people will want to spend time with their families if they can, but it’s essential that people follow the Government guidance and stay at home or stay local. If you have to travel over Christmas, please check your journey and plan ahead where possible to avoid disappointment.

“We want to thank passengers for their continued patience and understanding whist this essential work is carried out.”

Thameslink and Great Northern Managing Director Tom Moran said:

“With most of our network now under Tier 4 restrictions, people are being urged to stay at home. Those who have to travel should check carefully online before deciding to head for the train station. Our service will be affected throughout the Christmas period, returning to normal on Monday, 4 January. We’ll be busier too, helping LNER passengers connect with their trains at Stevenage and Peterborough.”

A spokesperson on behalf of other train operators on the route added:

“Train services which are running on the East Coast Main Line over the festive period are likely to be very busy, so please only travel to or from London if you have to.

“We want to thank passengers for their continued patience as work takes place on the East Coast Upgrade, which will bring a more reliable railway for passengers.”

A vital stage of work on another East Coast Upgrade project to build a new section of railway at Werrington, north of Peterborough, is taking place over nine days in January. The new tunnel will allow slower freight services to dive under the East Coast Main Line instead of crossing it, making more space for additional passenger services.

From Saturday 16 to Sunday 24 January, three of the East Coast Main Line tracks will be removed and the concrete box structure, which will carry the new lines, will be pushed into place. During this time, there will be limited services on the East Coast Main Line between Grantham and Peterborough.

Some passengers may have to complete part of their journey by rail replacement services, and people travelling to and from Scotland may additionally need to change trains at Newcastle. All passengers who need to travel are strongly advised to plan their journeys in advance.

Passengers advised to book ahead and plan their journey carefully on the East Coast Main Line in advance of six-day closure of London King’s Cross over the Christmas period

Engineers working on the tracks at London King's Cross Station

4 December 2020

Network Rail and train operators on the East Coast Main Line are urging passengers to plan ahead to avoid disappointment if travelling on the East Coast Main Line to and from London between Christmas Day and Wednesday 30 December (inclusive) as major work takes place.

No trains will run into or out of King’s Cross between 25 and 30 December and a reduced service will be in place from 31 December to 3 January.

The work is part of the £1.2billion East Coast Upgrade which is a once-in-a-generation investment to transform journeys between London, the North of England and Scotland. It will deliver improved reliability and punctuality for passengers and will ensure the route has the capacity to deal with future passenger volumes.

It comes as the Government yesterday (Thursday 3 December) outlined a series of measures focused on minimising disruption and helping people travel safely over the Christmas period.

The national lifting of COVID-19-related restrictions between 23 and 27 December had made demand more unpredictable, and the railway is responding to this by laying on more services, adding more contingency and adjusting the engineering investment programme. On the East Coast Upgrade, Network Rail has reduced the amount of work which will take place on Christmas Eve to enable some additional services to run on this date.

However, services on Christmas Eve are expected to be very busy, so passengers should plan their journey ahead of time, and those making long distance journeys will need a seat reservation.

Over the six-day closure, Network Rail will be carrying out incredibly complex and crucial work to reconstruct, strengthen and divert Camden Sewer, which runs beneath the railway. This requires a large area of track bed to be lifted up, which means it can only be done safely when no trains are running. The sheer volume of the work means that the teams need six days to be able to carry this out. Work will also take place to install new overhead line equipment, which powers electric and bi-mode trains, as well as work to renew the tracks.

Thursday 24 December 2020 – There will be some additional services to and from London King’s Cross in addition to those already on sale as Network Rail has postponed the start time of major work to Christmas Day. Trains are expected to be very busy.

Friday 25 and Saturday 26 December 2020 – As usual on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, there will be no services running on the East Coast Main Line, and no alternative services will be provided.

Sunday 27 December 2020 – There will be no trains in or out of London King’s Cross.

LNER services to and from the north will start and finish at either Peterborough or Stevenage and connecting trains will run to and from Finsbury Park or St Pancras International, but these are expected to be very busy. London Underground services will be available between Central London and Finsbury Park station.

Great Northern and Thameslink services which would normally run to and from London King’s Cross will start and finish at Finsbury Park instead.  People who need to travel are advised to use London Underground services to and from Finsbury Park, or alternative services in or out of Moorgate.

A limited service to and from Cambridge and Stevenage will continue to serve St Pancras International.

Monday 28 to Wednesday 30 December 2020 – There will be no trains in or out of London King’s Cross.

LNER services to and from the north will start and finish at either Peterborough or Stevenage and connecting trains will run to and from St Pancras International, but these are expected to be busy.

Great Northern and Thameslink services which would normally run to and from London King’s Cross will start and finish at Finsbury Park instead.  Thameslink services via St Pancras International will continue to run as normal, but these are expected to be busy.

London Underground services will be available between Central London and Finsbury Park station, and alternative services to some local destinations run to and from Moorgate.

Thursday 31 December 2020 to Sunday 3 January 2021 – There will be a reduced service to and from London King’s Cross. Trains are expected to be very busy.

Passengers are strongly advised to only travel to or from London on the East Coast Main Line if absolutely necessary, and to seek alternative travel arrangements where possible. Passengers can see how their journeys will be affected by visiting eastcoastupgrade.co.uk or their train operator’s website. If people must travel, they should allow plenty of time as services which are running are expected to be busy.

Passengers can travel with confidence by wearing a face covering, washing or sanitising their hands and maintaining their social distance. Those looking to travel must book a seat reservation in advance in order to do so.

Grand Central and Hull Trains restarted operations on December 3 after suspending services during the recent national lockdown:

  • Grand Central will not run any services between December 25 and January 1
  • Hull Trains will not run between December 25 and December 30.

 

Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade, said:

“We understand this Christmas is particularly special after what has been a difficult year, and that people want to spend time with their families if they can.

“We’re asking people who do decide to travel to consider their journey, plan and book ahead, and be considerate of fellow passengers.

“Our teams have been working hard over the past few months to do as much improvement work as possible without disrupting services. We now require the six-day closure at King’s Cross so we can reach a major milestone on the East Coast Upgrade, which when complete, will bring a more reliable railway for passengers.”

A spokesperson on behalf of train operators on the route said:

“Please only travel on the East Coast Main Line to and from London if you have no other alternative, as train services are likely to be very busy.

“This work on the East Coast Upgrade will bring a modern, more reliable railway, improving journeys for passengers travelling between Edinburgh, the north, Peterborough and London King’s Cross.”

After Christmas, a vital stage of work on another East Coast Upgrade project to build a new section of railway at Werrington, north of Peterborough, is taking place.

Progress has been made to construct a new tunnel, which will allow slower freight services to dive under the East Coast Main Line instead of crossing it, making more space for additional passenger services.

Over a nine-day period from Saturday 16 to Sunday 24 January, the concrete box structure, which will carry the new lines, will be pushed into place. This means there will be limited services on the East Coast Main Line between Grantham and Peterborough over this nine-day period, and some passengers may have to complete part of their journey by rail replacement services. People travelling to and from Scotland may additionally need to change trains at Newcastle during this time. All passengers who need to travel are strongly advised to plan their journeys in advance.

Powering the next generation of rail travel

Train passes Power Supply Upgrade work on the East Coast Main Line

6 November 2020

An outline £10 million co-investment agreement has been signed by the University of Leeds and the companies involved in the Power Supply Upgrade of the East Coast Main Line.

It will enable research into the best and most efficient way of managing the electrical power flow onto the route, which is expected to get busier with newer and faster electric trains, including high-speed trains.

The research is expected to last two years.

The East Coast Main Line is a strategic rail link between London, Yorkshire and Scotland and carries more than 20 million passengers a year.  New track and signals are being installed, along with an upgraded electrical power system, as part of the £1.2 billion East Coast Upgrade.

This is the biggest investment in the route in a generation, which will make way for more services to meet passenger demand and bring a more reliable railway.

The power upgrade involves new sub-stations, 1,600km of cabling and overhead line equipment. When completed, the work will result in the introduction of more electric trains which are quieter and more environmentally friendly.

The research collaboration announced today is focused on the electrical power upgrade.

University of Leeds scientists and engineers will have access to data collected from a series of lineside static frequency converters, devices that manage the flow of electrical power from the National Grid to the overhead power cables along the line. That data will be subject to modelling to investigate how well the power system is performing.

Peter Woodward, Professor of High-Speed Rail and Director of the Institute for High-Speed Rail and System Integration at Leeds, said:

“The electrification upgrade of the East Coast Main Line will create one of the most advanced and efficient rail arteries in the world.

“At the heart of that rail system is the electrical power that drives it. There has to be enough power available to enable the trains operating on the line to run at speed and at full capacity. 

“This research will see University and rail industry engineers working closely together to identify the most efficient and effective ways to manage that power system.”

The research agreement is between the University and the consortium involved in upgrading the power supply, the Rail Electrification Alliance (REAL), made up of Network Rail, VolkerRail, Siemens Mobility, J Murphy and Sons, Jacobs and Systra.

Keith Earnshaw, Engineering Director at the REAL Alliance, said:

“Through analysis of the data, we want to get a detailed understanding of how trains and other rolling stock are using the power that is being fed onto the network and importantly, are we getting the most effective use of that power. 

“We also want to ensure that the power that is coming onto the line does not result in power surges or other electrical interference that could disrupt other rail equipment.

“Our aim is to have a system that is efficient and reliable, and this research will eventually enable us to access a digital power map of the UK’s network to ensure that the future electrification projects are designed as efficiently as possible.”

Jason Hamilton, REAL Alliance Director, said:

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for the Industry and REAL Alliance to be working with the University of Leeds and a facility such as the Institute for High-Speed Rail and System Integration. The research work that the University does and the opportunity to work alongside and in conjunction with industry on live projects holds real potential. 

“This partnership will allow the East Coast Main Line Power Supply Upgrade programme to progress with additional research and analysis that we wouldn’t have been able to access without this relationship.”

Rail system integration

The University of Leeds is developing one of the most advanced rail research institutes in the world. The Institute for High Speed Rail and System Integration has a focus on investigating how different rail systems work together.

The Institute will be built on a site next to the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone on the south eastern edge of the city and forms the early phase of a wider plan to position the Leeds City Region as a UK centre for rail engineering, which will generate jobs and inward investment.

More information on the East Coast Main Line Power Supply Upgrade can be found here.

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