Network Rail moves closer to improvements on East Coast Main Line: Hutingdon to Woodwalton illustration of reinstated track-2

Wednesday 25 Jan 2017

Network Rail moves closer to improvements on East Coast Main Line

London North Eastern & East Midlands

Network Rail has taken the next step in its plans to reinstate the fourth track between Huntingdon and Woodwalton after submitting a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) to the Secretary of State for Transport for approval.

As part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, the project would see a critical bottleneck between London and the North removed which, when combined with upgrades at Werrington and Doncaster, would ease congestion on the line and allow faster trains to overtake slower ones. Passengers will also benefit from more frequent trains and reduced journey times.

The Transport and Works Act Order would authorise the closure of Abbots Ripton bridleway level crossing and a diversionary bridleway route would be put in place, improving safety for those crossing the railway. After a public consultation in September 2016 and acting on feedback received, Network Rail has proposed a diversion route which would cross agricultural land adjacent to the railway. If approved, the closure of the crossing and the bridleway diversion is expected to be completed in summer 2018.

Aidan Talbott, principal programme sponsor at Network Rail: “We’re investing into the East Coast Main Line as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a more reliable railway and to reduce journey times. The work to install a fourth track is a vital part of this investment and will provide more services for passengers.

“We are committed to reducing risk on the railway and the TWAO, if made, will enable us to close Abbots Ripton bridleway level crossing and create a slightly revised route using a nearby archway under the line, making the railway safer for all those who use it.”

Network Rail will hold further public information events on design and construction plans of the fourth track and will confirm dates later in the year.


Notes to editors:

  • Objections, representations and letters of support can be made by anyone by 3 March 2017. These should be sent to: Secretary of State for Transport c/o Transport and Works Act Orders Unit, General Counsel's Office, Department for Transport, Zone 1/18, Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 4DR or email
  • More information on the scheme is available here:

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Network Rail press office - Amy Brenndorfer
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About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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