East Coast Upgrade
The £1.2bn upgrade plan is set to create capacity for up to 10,000 extra seats a day on long-distance services, it will also mean faster journeys and increased reliability for passengers.
Some works have already taken place to get the line ready for the new trains that are in service or on order. Work is currently focused on Stevenage, Werrington and London King’s Cross.
- Newark – Just north of Newark Northgate station the Nottingham to Lincoln railway crosses the East Coast Main Line. This junction (known as Newark flat crossing) was replaced on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August.
- Stevenage – We’re building a new platform and track at Stevenage station so trains from the Hertford North line (known as the Hertford Loop) can terminate and go back towards London without using up capacity on the existing tracks. This will enable more services to run in future while improving resilience and reliability. You can find out more information here.
- Werrington, North of Peterborough – We are building a new section of railway to go under the East Coast Main Line at Werrington so trains, particularly freight trains, can get to and from the line to Spalding (known as the Great North Great Eastern or GNGE). Once finished it will free up space on the East Coast Main Line for extra passenger services. You can find out more information here.
- Power Supply Upgrade – We’re upgrading the power supply on the East Coast Main Line to enable faster, quieter and cleaner trains to run. The upgrade paves the way for the introduction of additional electric trains. You can find out more information here.
Here is our senior project manager Tim Walden, a.k.a. Trackside Tim, talking about the £1.2bn East Coast Upgrade.
A major part of the East Coast Upgrade is the work taking place to transform travel to and from London King’s Cross through a multi-million pound investment in renewing track, signalling and overhead line equipment, on the approach to the station.
This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve this vital part of the rail network, which is used by 20 million passengers a year. While the station itself was modernised in 2012, the 40-year old track has reached the end of its design life and is getting harder to maintain. It needs to be replaced.
The project will see 1.5 miles of track, signalling and overhead line equipment renewed, leaving a layout that will improve reliability and reduce the long-term cost of operating and maintaining the railway. Part of this involves installing two new tracks by re-opening a disused tunnel on the approach to King’s Cross. This will increase the number of tracks into the station from four to six.
Signalling replacement work took place during the weekend of 13/14 July 2019, when platforms 0-6 were closed at the station and there was a reduced train service.
Over the August bank holiday weekend, when no services were running, further progress was made. This included track renewal in Copenhagen tunnel, transfer of overhead lines and moving control of part of the railway from King’s Cross signal box to the new Rail Operating Centre in York.
Enabling work now continues until the end of 2019, with the East Coast Main Line and King’s Cross Station operating as normal. As usual there will be no trains over the Christmas Day and Boxing Day holiday period.
Operators have limited access into King’s Cross at the start of service until 13.00 on Friday 27 December and they will be running a reduced timetable.
Check with your train operator here or on the National Rail enquiries website for train times.
Disruption in January and February 2020
Work is also taking place over most weekends in January and February, which will mean there is a reduced service.
There will be no trains in and out of King’s Cross over the two weekends below:
Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 January
Saturday 29 February and Sunday 1 March.
There will also be five weekends of a reduced service on the East Coast Main Line when passengers along the route are urged to check before travelling and to allow additional time for their journey as these services will be busy and are likely to take longer than usual. These dates are:
- Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 January
- Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 January
- Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 January
- Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 February
- Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 February
Engineers are also working to replace rails on the Great Northern route through Moorgate to Stevenage. Passengers who use this route are advised to check before they travel on
- Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 February
- Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 February
You will be able to find out more detailed travel information for your journey from the individual company websites here.