Planned upgrade work to impact Thameslink and Great Northern passengers travelling to and from London on 3 December: Engineers work between Welwyn and Hitchin to deliver ECDP, Network Rail (2)

Monday 6 Nov 2023

Planned upgrade work to impact Thameslink and Great Northern passengers travelling to and from London on 3 December

Region & Route:
| Eastern: East Coast
| Eastern: Anglia
  • There will be an extremely limited train and replacement bus service between London and Peterborough, Cambridge, and Kings Lynn
  • Buses will run to key stations only and many stations will not be served for the whole day
  • Passengers urged to consider travelling a day earlier if possible

Thameslink and Great Northern passengers are being urged to consider travelling the day before Sunday 3 December to avoid disruption to services caused by essential improvement work.

Key engineering work as part of the billion-pound East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) and work in the Cambridge area will severely impact services between London and Peterborough, Cambridge and Kings Lynn, with many stations not being served all day.

On Sunday 3 December, there will be an extremely limited train and replacement bus service and many stations will not be served for the whole day.

Trains and bus services will be extremely busy, queuing systems will be in place and passengers may not be able to board their chosen service.

Passengers are strongly encouraged to travel on Saturday 2 December, where possible, and to allow plenty of extra time for their journey if travelling on Sunday 3 December is essential. 

Great Northern will operate a reduced train service between King’s Cross and Potters Bar, Moorgate and Potters Bar, Moorgate and Hertford North, St Neots and Peterborough, and Cambridge and King’s Lynn. There will be no Great Northern or Thameslink trains between the following stations, and no replacement bus service for many of the intermediate stations all day:

  • Potters Bar and St Neots­
  • Potters Bar and Cambridge
  • Hertford North and Stevenage

Greater Anglia services will operate between London Liverpool Street and Audley End where passengers can connect onto rail replacement bus services to and from Cambridge North, from where there will be a train connection to and from Cambridge.

A limited bus service will be in operation between key locations on the route and stations with train connections to/from London. Buses will run between:

  • Cambridge North and Audley End for train connections to and from London Liverpool Street. Passengers will be able to travel between Cambridge and Cambridge North by train.
  • Luton Airport Parkway and Stevenage via Hitchin
  • St Neots and Bedford
  • St Albans and Welwyn Garden City

The ECDP will see the introduction of in-cab, digital signalling for trains running up and down the East Coast Main Line from 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.

At the same time, work is also being carried out to continue the new Cambridge South station and the Cambridge re-signalling project.

The new station will provide access to a growing area of high-quality employment and help relieve congestion in the local area by supporting the development of environmentally sustainable transport. Delivering modern signalling will mean better reliability and reduced maintenance, while providing a platform ready for digital technologies.

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.

“Wherever possible, we seek to avoid engineering works on nearby routes happening at the same time but on this occasion this has not been possible. 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.”

Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Govia Thameslink Railway, said: We have taken the tough decision to close several of our stations between Potters Bar, St Neots and Cambridge so we can concentrate available buses on delivering a reliable service. This will give our customers more confidence when planning their journeys in advance.

“Unfortunately, some journeys will be difficult on this date, which is why we’re encouraging customers to travel on Saturday 2 December if possible.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patience while this vital work takes place to improve journeys between London, Peterborough, and Cambridge in the future.”

Train times for Sunday 3 December are available in online journey planners, such as National Rail Enquiries, and passengers are urged to check their journey before travelling. Further information is also available on the Great Northern website or via their train operator.

Notes to Editors

Train service details:

Impacts to Great Northern and Thameslink services are listed below.

The following stations will have no service for the whole day:

  • Arlesey
  • Ashwell and Morden
  • Baldock
  • Biggleswade
  • Foxton
  • Huntingdon
  • Letchworth Garden City
  • Meldreth
  • Royston
  • Sandy
  • Shepreth
  • Brookmans Park
  • Hatfield
  • Knebworth
  • Watton-at-Stone
  • Welham Green
  • Welwyn North

There will be NO alternative travel options from these stations.

No trains will run between:

  • Potters Bar and St Neots­
  • Potters Bar and Cambridge
  • Hertford North and Stevenage

A reduced train service will run between:

  • Kings Cross and Potters Bar (Semi-fast)
  • Moorgate and Potters Bar (All stations)
  • Moorgate and Hertford North (All stations)
  • St Neots and Peterborough
  • Cambridge and Kings Lynn

A limited rail replacement bus service will run between:

  • St Neots and Bedford
  • Luton Airport Parkway and Stevenage via Hitchin
  • Cambridge North and Audley End
  • St Albans and Welwyn Garden City

Tickets will also be accepted on Thameslink services between Bedford, Luton Airport Parkway and London St Pancras at no additional cost.

About ECDP

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

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

About Network Rail

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