East Coast Upgrade
This £1.2bn upgrade will modernise key parts of the East Coast Main Line to improve journeys for passengers between London, the North and Scotland.
Once completed, it will deliver quicker, more reliable journeys across the route and create capacity for an extra 10,000 seats per day on some of the busiest long-distance services in the country.
This website explains the major engineering works that are crucial to delivering this Upgrade and the disruption this may mean for passengers.
The East Coast Upgrade is currently focused on major projects at London King’s Cross and Werrington. So far, the Upgrade has delivered a new additional platform at Stevenage station and an improved junction at Newark.
These are the key elements of the East Coast Upgrade:
- King’s Cross – 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. You can find out more information on the Network Rail website
- Werrington, north of Peterborough – We’re building a new section of railway to dive under the East Coast Main Line at Werrington so trains, particularly slower freight trains, can reach the line to and from Spalding (known as the Great North Great Eastern line, or GNGE) without having to cross the main line. Once finished, it will free up space on the East Coast Main Line for extra passenger services. You can find out more information on the Network Rail website.
- Stevenage – A new platform and track at Stevenage station opened in early August 2020 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 enables more services to run in future while improving resilience and reliability. You can find out more information on the Network Rail website.
- Power Supply Upgrade – We’re boosting the power supply along the East Coast Main Line to enable faster, quieter and cleaner trains to run by carrying out work at a total of 46 sites along the whole route. This upgrade has already paved the way for the introduction of new trains, such as the Azuma, and will enable additional electric trains to run in the future. You can find out more information on the Network Rail website.
Here’s our senior project manager Tim Walden, a.k.a. Trackside Tim, talking about the £1.2bn East Coast Upgrade.
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. Whilst King’s Cross 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.
The work so far
Since work began in Summer 2019, significant progress has already been achieved, with much of the work taking place behind the scenes without causing disruption.
For safety reasons, some of the major works can only be carried out when trains are not running, and there have been a number of weekend closures of the station to enable the work to continue. This has enabled signals and masts that carry the overhead wires to be replaced, control of the railway moved from the old King’s Cross signal box to the new Rail Operating Centre in York and essential preparation work for later stages of the Upgrade.
Future periods of disruption
To continue to deliver these improvements there will be further periods of disruption. Dates for upcoming work are as follows:
No services to or from King’s Cross on the weekend of 5 & 6 September.
Further weekends and longer periods of disruption later this year, with dates to be confirmed shortly.
Significant periods of disruption to all services to and from London King’s Cross during 2021, including on weekdays.
Further detail and specific dates will be provided over the coming months as plans to minimise disruption for passengers are finalised.
You will be able to find out more detailed travel information for your journey from the individual company websites: