Passengers urged to plan ahead of further upgrades to the East Coast Main Line digital signalling: Engineers work between Welwyn and Hitchin to deliver ECDP, Network Rail (2)

Monday 6 Nov 2023

Passengers urged to plan ahead of further upgrades to the East Coast Main Line digital signalling

Region & Route:
| Eastern: East Coast

Passengers are being urged to plan ahead before travelling on Sunday 3 December 2023 as key engineering work takes place as part of the billion-pound East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP).

The ECDP will see the introduction of in-cab, digital signalling for trains running up and down the East Coast Main Line from London King’s Cross, resulting in a more reliable railway for passengers, and lower carbon emissions.

The work, which is being carried out between Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin in Hertfordshire, will see new equipment and technology installed in preparation for trains to operate using digital signalling in this area from 2025.

On Sunday 3 December, there will be changes to train services, with no LNER, Lumo, or Hull Trains services terminating at or departing from London King’s Cross station. Grand Central will be operating no service.

LNER will be operating a reduced service with train services starting and terminating at St Neots. Rail replacement coaches will run between St Neots and Bedford, where passengers can re-join rail services to London St Pancras.

Lumo services will terminate at Peterborough and a limited replacement coach service will be in operation. Hull Trains will be running a reduced train service which will divert and terminate in St Pancras.

Passengers are urged to check their journey before travelling via National Rail Enquiries or their train operator. Nearby engineering work in the Cambridge area may also impact on passengers’ journeys towards London’s Liverpool Street station.

Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Digital Programme, said: “This work is vital for the introduction of digital, in-cab signalling on the East Coast Main Line, which will provide a better service for passengers and reduce carbon emissions.

“We want to thank passengers for their patience and understanding ahead of this work and understand that journeys will take longer than they normally would.

“We’re encouraging all passengers to check their journey before they travel via National Rail Enquiries or their train operator.”

Dr Linda Wain, Engineering Director at LNER said: “We recognise this important work will see some changes to our services on 3 December. The East Coast Digital Programme is taking our railway into a digital age and will bring long-term benefits for our customers, while also enabling our Azuma fleet of trains to realise their full potential.” 

Martijn Gilbert, Lumo and Hull Trains Managing Director, said: “Starting the journey towards digital signalling into the cabs of trains is exciting and will deliver benefits to train services in the long run, but we do recognise that, in the short-term, these works will impact some customers’ journeys.

“We’re working closely Network Rail and fellow train operators to minimise the impact wherever possible, and we encourage customers to check and plan ahead for journeys during these works.”

Further ECDP work will take place affecting services on Sunday 24 December. More details will be released regarding this work in due course.

Notes to Editors

Digital signalling, using the European Train Control System (ETCS) is a proven technology already in use in many countries in Europe and elsewhere. The East Coast Digital Programme 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.

For further information about the ECDP please visit

Contact information

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03457 11 41 41

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Joshua Chapman
Media Relations Manager
Network Rail

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