Passengers reminded to check before travelling as further upgrade work is planned for East Coast Digital Programme: ECDP team talk to passengers at King's Cross, Network Rail (1),

Monday 5 Feb 2024

Passengers reminded to check before travelling as further upgrade work is planned for East Coast Digital Programme

Region & Route:
| Eastern: East Coast

Network Rail is reminding passengers to plan ahead and check before travelling as major upgrades to signalling at the southern end of the East Coast Main Line will see changes to services across multiple dates in February 2024.

The East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) is a billion-pound project to upgrade and digitise signalling, bringing it into the drivers’ cab, meaning a more reliable, efficient and greener railway.

During the next phases of work on this landmark scheme, which will take place across multiple dates in February, there will be some significant changes to train services to and from London King’s Cross, including on two midweek dates.

The completion of the February work will be a significant milestone in the programme with the commissioning of the section between Welwyn and Hitchin, allowing for system testing.  

On Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 February 2024, work will take place between London and Peterborough, mainly focused on upgrading switches & crossings, the specialist equipment used by trains to change tracks from one to another.

As a result, throughout the weekend LNER will operate a reduced service starting and terminating at Grantham. Rail replacement coaches will run between Grantham and Huntingdon where customers can join rail shuttle services to London King’s Cross. Lumo services will only operate between Edinburgh and Newcastle on this weekend.

From Saturday 17 February to Tuesday 20 February, further work will be carried out as part of the ECDP. Across these four days, there will be no direct long distance trains to or from London King’s Cross.

LNER will operate a reduced service starting and terminating at Peterborough. Rail replacement coaches will run between Peterborough and Bedford, where customers can join other operators’ services to London St Pancras.

Across these dates, Lumo will operate a reduced service to and from London with a non-stop rail replacement coach between London King’s Cross and Peterborough connecting with a Lumo train to and from Newcastle.

A separate Lumo shuttle service will operate between Edinburgh and Newcastle only.

Hull Trains will be running a reduced train service of two trains in each direction which will divert at Doncaster and terminate in London St Pancras on Saturday 10, Sunday 11, Saturday 17, and Sunday 18 February.

However, on Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 February, Hull Trains services will be terminating in Doncaster, with no services running to or from London, Grantham or Retford.

Grand Central will operate no service on all of the affected days.

Customers are advised to plan ahead and check before travelling as impacted journeys will take longer and may involve a rail replacement coach service.

Members of the ECDP team and representatives from train operators have been at King’s Cross today, talking to the public about the programme, what benefits it will bring, and handing out cards explaining how their journeys may be impacted over the coming weeks. Colleagues will also be at the station on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 February.

Ricky Barsby, Head of Access and Integration for East Coast Digital Programme, said: “By commissioning the Welwyn and Hitchin section, it will enable us to test the new system with trains. This is a significant milestone of the East Coast Digital Programme.”

“The additional work on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 February will also allow us to make vital improvements to the railway including upgrades to switches & crossings which will mean smoother and more reliable journeys for passengers.

“Members of the ECDP team are looking forward to interacting with passengers as they pass through King’s Cross from Monday 5 February. Colleagues will be on hand to talk about the programme, its benefits, and to provide service information for journeys taking place during engineering work.

“We want to thank passengers for their patience and understanding ahead of this essential work and are reminding passengers to check their journey before they travel via National Rail Enquiries or through their train operator.”

A spokesperson on behalf of LNER, Hull Trains, Lumo and Grand Central said: “Our teams will be working extremely hard to ensure passengers reach their destination as quickly as possible while these upgrades are carried out.

“The latest travel information can be found on our websites and on our social media platforms and we advise passengers to plan ahead and check before they travel.”

Notes to Editors

Interview Opportunity

Ricky Barsby, Head of Access & Integration, is available for interview at King's Cross station on Wednesday 7 February, and at Peterborough station on Thursday 8 February (before 1200).

To arrange an interview, please contact / 07561 874858. Interviews over Zoom or in other locations on the East Coast Main Line may also be requested and we will facilitate where possible.


Digital Signalling

Digital signalling, using ETCS is a proven technology already in use in many countries in Europe and elsewhere. The ECDP will see the first introduction of ETCS to an intercity mainline in Great Britain, and will provide the foundation for the future expansion of digital signalling across the network.  ETCS is currently in use in the central London section of Thameslink and on the Cambrian Line in Wales, and now on the Northern City Line (Finsbury Park to Moorgate), in the first stage of ECDP.

More reliability: With signalling information being provided directly to the driver, via a screen in their cab, there will no longer be a need to maintain a large amount of lineside equipment involved with traditional ‘traffic light’ signals.  As a result, the amount of signalling-related engineering work will reduce in the future by around almost half. Additionally, trains are sometimes affected by signal failures; moving to a modern, digitally based system makes this less likely, potentially reducing thousands of hours of delays, and making train services more reliable.

More punctual services: Digital signalling gives train drivers continual information about the safe maximum speed for their train. It provides drivers with additional information about the route ahead, that today’s fixed ‘traffic light’ signals do not. This enables more ‘efficient’ operations, helping trains stay on time.  The new technology allows continuous communication between the trackside and onboard equipment. Signallers can continuously communicate with every train on the network and respond in real time using digital tools to help smooth the flow of trains and recover services more quickly after disruption.

Greener journeys: Digital signalling contributes to a greener railway. The East Coast Main Line is already electrified, and these upgrades will deliver a further 55,000 tonne reduction in carbon emissions over 60 years – the equivalent to over 65,000 one-way flights from London to New York, or over 2 million passenger train journeys from London to Edinburgh. This is because there is much less physical equipment to produce and maintain compared with what’s needed for ‘traffic light’ signals. The estimated whole life carbon saving over a 60-year period (the expected life span of a ‘traditional’ signalling system) is around 39%. The technology also allows gentler braking, meaning journeys are smoother and use less energy. Finally, a more reliable and punctual railway will encourage more people to choose rail over road and air, ultimately reducing transport emissions for the long-term.

For further information about the ECDP please visit

Contact information

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

Latest travel advice
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Joshua Chapman
Media Relations Manager
Network Rail

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