Monday 7 Dec 2020
Passengers advised to 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
Network Rail, Great Northern and Thameslink are urging passengers to plan ahead if travelling on the East Coast Main Line to and from London between Christmas Day and 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, Peterborough and Cambridge. It will deliver improved reliability and punctuality for passengers and will make sure the route has the capacity to deal with future passenger volumes.
It comes following the Government announcement last week which 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 than had been planned, 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 a near full service to run on this date.
However, services on Christmas Eve are expected to be very busy, so people should plan their journey ahead of time, and passengers making long distance journeys will need a seat reservation.
- Thursday 24 December 2020 - There will be a near normal service to and from London King’s Cross as Network Rail has postponed the start time of major work, although services will finish earlier in the evening, which is normal for Christmas Eve. 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 and those Great Northern trains 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 Thameslink service to and from Cambridge will continue to serve St Pancras International.
Most long-distance trains to and from the north will start and finish at Peterborough or Stevenage instead, and connecting Great Northern or Thameslink trains will run to and from St Pancras International or Finsbury Park. London Underground services will be available between central London and Finsbury Park on the Victoria and Piccadilly lines. 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.
- Monday 28 to Wednesday 30 December 2020 - There will be no trains in or out of London King’s Cross and those Great Northern trains will start and finish at Finsbury Park instead. People who need to travel are advised to use alternative services in or out of St Pancras International or Moorgate, or to use London Underground services to and from Finsbury Park.
Long distance services to and from the north will start and finish at Peterborough or Stevenage instead, and connecting Thameslink trains will run to and from St Pancras International. Long distance passengers travelling north from London are advised to start their journey from St Pancras International.
- 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 with Thameslink or Great Northern. If people must travel, they should allow plenty of time as services which are running are expected to be busy and queuing systems may be in place at stations and passengers may not be able to board the first train.
Passengers can travel with confidence by wearing a face covering, washing or sanitising their hands and maintaining their social distance.
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 if they can, 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.”
Thameslink and Great Northern Customer Services Director Jenny Saunders said: “If you need to travel on the East Coast Main Line over Christmas, please check your journey at National Rail Enquiries and plan ahead.
“This work on the East Coast Upgrade will bring a modern, more reliable railway, improving journeys for passengers.”
Notes to Editors
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.
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Network Rail press office - Amy Brenndorfer
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About Network Rail
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.