Passengers reminded of major Midland Main Line weekend upgrades: Engineers installing overhead lines as part of the Midland Mainline Upgrade, Network Rail

Monday 13 May 2024

Passengers reminded of major Midland Main Line weekend upgrades

Region & Route:
| Eastern: East Midlands

Rail passengers are being advised to plan ahead and check for journey updates while multi-million-pound Midland Main Line upgrades continue.

Since April Network Rail teams have been working on Sunday nights to replace existing overhead power cables for trains between Bedford and Luton.

This weekend will see work ramp up, with the major railway upgrades taking place at multiple locations on both Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May.

It will see:

  • new overhead line equipment and track drainage upgrades between Kettering and Wigston.
  • existing overhead lines replaced between Bedford and Luton.
  • new switches and crossings (pieces of track which move to allow trains to change lines) installed between Radlett and Cricklewood, separate to Midland Main Line electrification work.

This latest work is part of the wider scheme to improve the Midland Main Line to allow East Midlands Railway’s greener fleet to run at speeds of 125mph in the future.

The bi-mode trains – which can switch between diesel power or electricity when there are cables above – will provide more reliable, faster, and quieter journeys once the scheme is fully finished.

South of Bedford OLE125 start of work 01.10.23, Network Rail (1)

People are being advised that the latest essential work will see changes to journeys over the weekend of 18 and 19 May*.

Anyone travelling should be prepared for busier trains, longer journey times and may need to change onto rail replacement buses.

Passengers are being advised to plan ahead by visiting or by checking with their individual train operator.

Gavin Crook, Network Rail East Midlands Route principal programme sponsor, said: “I’d like to thank people for their patience while we make the Midland Main Line better and greener for the future.

“We always try to plan our work at the quietest times which is why recently we’ve been concentrating on Sunday nights, but this latest phase of work is more complicated so we will need to use both Saturday and Sunday to complete our work.

“We’re working closely with train operators so we can keep people on the move, and our advice is to plan ahead and check National Rail Enquiries so they know exactly what to expect from their journey.

Dave Meredith, Customer Services Director for EMR, said: “We are advising customers planning to travel to or from London next weekend, 18 and 19 May, to check their journeys in advance by looking for updates on the EMR website.

“Engineering work will affect EMR services and customers should expect longer journey times with rail replacement buses and amended timetables in place.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patience whilst the engineering work to electrify the Midland Main Line takes place. This work will greatly benefit our customers in the future with more reliable, quicker journeys to and from London.”

Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said: “We thank our customers for their patience and understanding while Network Rail are modernising the infrastructure on this important route. Please plan ahead, and double-check your route before you set off, allowing plenty of extra time if you need to use replacement buses or other alternatives.”

For more information on the Midland Main Line upgrade you can visit:

Notes to Editors

*Passenger travel information in detail

Kettering to Wigston

On Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May the Midland Main Line will be shut between Kettering and Wigston. East Midlands Railway intercity services between Sheffield/Nottingham and London St Pancras will divert via Corby and Melton Mowbray with two trains running per hour. East Midlands Railway Connect services with terminate at Wellingborough. Rail replacement bus services operating for passengers travelling between Leicester, Market Harborough, and Kettering.

Cricklewood and Radlett

On Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May fewer services will be running due to track upgrades between Cricklewood and Radlett. Trains will still be running but at a reduced timetable due to services running at slower speeds. It will see four East Midlands Railway trains per hour running (2x EMR Connect to Wellingborough, 1x EMR Intercity to Nottingham and 1x EMR Intercity to Sheffield) and six Thameslink services per hour (4 to Bedford and 2 to St Albans).

Luton to Bedford

Overnight on Sunday 19 May Network Rail teams will be working overnight between Bedford and Luton. Rail replacement services between the stations will operate from 00.05 to 08.05. Additionally, on Sunday morning before around 9am, buses will replace Thameslink trains between West Hampstead Thameslink and St Pancras International. Thameslink services will not call at Kentish Town all that day.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Joshua Chapman
Media Relations Manager
Network Rail

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