Project to improve mobile connectivity on East Coast Main Line reaches key milestone: Engineers work to improve mobile connection, credit LNER-2

Sunday 28 Jan 2024

Project to improve mobile connectivity on East Coast Main Line reaches key milestone

Region & Route:
| Eastern: East Coast

Network Rail, LNER and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are collaborating to improve mobile connectivity on the East Coast Main Line.

The joint project, which is delivering new mobile phone infrastructure into tunnels outside London King’s Cross station, has reached an important milestone, with the installation of a bespoke antenna. The work inside Gasworks and Copenhagen tunnels will mean most customers can expect a more reliable and consistent mobile phone and on-train Wi-Fi connection and see the removal of ‘not-spots’ customers can experience when travelling through the tunnels.

The successful delivery of the project, funded by LNER working in collaboration with Network Rail and major mobile network operators, will mean the tunnels will be the first on the country’s operational railway to be fitted with the bespoke solution, with the system installed by rail connectivity and technology integration specialist Linbrooke.

Rigorous testing has been carried out at Network Rail’s Innovation and Development Centre between Network Rail and the phone companies before introduction onto the network.

The technology will mean from later this year most customers will be able to maintain direct voice and data access to their mobile provider, keeping their calls connected and meetings online as they approach and leave the capital.

Engineers work to improve mobile connection, credit LNER (2)

Helen Cavanagh, Head of Passenger Experience for Network Rail’s East Coast route, said: “This is a fantastic example of the rail industry and mobile operators working together to improve services and experience for passengers. “This project will keep most passengers connected with family and friends on the approach to King’s Cross station, helping boost their enjoyment when travelling on the East Coast Main Line.”

James Downey, Finance Director at LNER said: “Our customers have told us that reliable Wi-Fi and mobile connection is a key consideration when they are making decisions about travelling by train, with many expecting the connection on the train to be as strong as home.

“This section of our route is a popular spot for customers to make calls or send messages, as they approach London King’s Cross or just get comfortable in their seat to begin their journey north. Those calls, messages and meetings will now benefit from an improved, more reliable signal, meaning our customers can stay better connected.”

Ben Lynch, Managing Director at Linbrooke Rail said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting project which will transform the passenger experience on LNER trains. Delivering new technology and rail infrastructure is at the heart of the Linbrooke business. The location and environment of this project will add to the challenge, but the collective team have made a good start on the construction phase, and I look forward to seeing this continue.”

A Virgin Media O2 spokesperson said: “Virgin Media O2 is focused on improving the network experience for our customers wherever they are and closing any “not spots” that exist for them. This project will help to ensure they are able to get quality mobile coverage on the move and enable them to stay connected when leaving and approaching London King’s Cross Station.”

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Joshua Chapman
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