Passengers advised to book ahead and plan their journey carefully on the East Coast Main Line in advance of six-day closure of London King’s Cross over the Christmas period: Passengers advised to book ahead and plan their journey carefully on the East Coast Main Line in advance of six-day closure of London King’s Cross over the Christmas period

Monday 7 Dec 2020

Passengers advised to book ahead and plan their journey carefully on the East Coast Main Line in advance of six-day closure of London King’s Cross over the Christmas period

Region & Route:
Eastern
| Eastern: East Coast

Network Rail and train operators on the East Coast Main Line are urging passengers to plan ahead to avoid disappointment if travelling on the East Coast Main Line to and from London between Christmas Day and Wednesday 30 December (inclusive) as major work takes place.

No trains will run into or out of King’s Cross between 25 and 30 December and a reduced service will be in place from 31 December to 3 January.

The work is part of the £1.2billion East Coast Upgrade which is a once-in-a-generation investment to transform journeys between London, the North and Scotland. It will deliver improved reliability and punctuality for passengers and will ensure the route has the capacity to deal with future passenger volumes.

It comes following the Government announcement last week which outlined a series of measures focused on minimising disruption and helping people travel safely over the Christmas period.

The national lifting of Covid-19-related restrictions between 23 and 27 December had made demand more unpredictable, and the railway is responding to this by laying on more services, adding more contingency and adjusting the engineering investment programme. On the East Coast Upgrade, Network Rail has reduced the amount of work which will take place on Christmas Eve to enable some additional services to run on this date.

However, services on Christmas Eve are expected to be very busy, so passengers should plan their journey ahead of time, and will need a seat reservation.

Over the six-day closure, Network Rail will be carrying out incredibly complex and crucial work to reconstruct, strengthen and divert Camden Sewer, which runs beneath the railway. This requires a large area of track bed to be lifted up, which means it can only be done safely when no trains are running. The sheer volume of the work means that the teams need six days to be able to carry this out. Work will also take place to install new overhead line equipment, which powers electric and bi-mode trains, as well as work to renew the tracks.

  • Thursday 24 December 2020 - There will be some additional services to and from London King’s Cross in addition to those already on sale as Network Rail has postponed the start time of major work to Christmas Day. Trains are expected to be very busy.
  • Friday 25 and Saturday 26 December 2020 - As usual on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, there will be no services running on the East Coast Main Line, and no alternative services will be provided.
  • Sunday 27 December 2020 - There will be no trains in or out of London King’s Cross. Most trains to and from the north will start and finish at Peterborough or Stevenage instead, and connecting trains will run to and from St Pancras International or Finsbury Park. London Underground services will be available to and from Finsbury Park station
  • Monday 28 to Wednesday 30 December 2020 - There will be no trains in or out of London King’s Cross. Most trains to and from the north will run to and from Peterborough or Stevenage instead, and connecting trains will run to and from St Pancras International. Passengers travelling north from London are advised to start their journey from St Pancras International.
  • Thursday 31 December 2020 to Sunday 3 January 2021 - There will be a reduced service to and from London King’s Cross. Trains are expected to be very busy.

Passengers are strongly advised to only travel to or from London on the East Coast Main Line if absolutely necessary, and to seek alternative travel arrangements where possible. Passengers can see how their journeys will be affected by visiting eastcoastupgrade.co.uk or their train operator’s website. If people must travel, they should allow plenty of time as services which are running are expected to be busy.

Passengers can travel with confidence by wearing a face covering, washing or sanitising their hands and maintaining their social distance. Those looking to travel must book a seat reservation in advance in order to do so.

Grand Central and Hull Trains restarted operations on 3 December after suspending services during the recent national lockdown:

  • Grand Central will not run any services between 25 December and 1 January
  • Hull Trains will not run between 25 December and 30 December

Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade, said: “We understand this Christmas is particularly special after what has been a difficult year, and that people want to spend time with their families if they can.

“We’re asking people who do decide to travel to consider their journey, plan and book ahead, and be considerate of fellow passengers.

“Our teams have been working hard over the past few months to do as much improvement work as possible without disrupting services. We now require the six-day closure at King’s Cross so we can reach a major milestone on the East Coast Upgrade, which when complete, will bring a more reliable railway for passengers.”

A spokesperson on behalf of train operators on the route said: “Please only travel on the East Coast Main Line to and from London if you have no other alternative, as train services are likely to be very busy.

“This work on the East Coast Upgrade will bring a modern, more reliable railway, improving journeys for passengers travelling between Edinburgh, the north, Peterborough and London King’s Cross.”

After Christmas, a vital stage of work on another East Coast Upgrade project to build a new section of railway at Werrington, north of Peterborough, is taking place. Progress has been made to construct a new tunnel, which will allow slower freight services to dive under the East Coast Main Line instead of crossing it, making more space for additional passenger services.

Over a nine-day period from Saturday, 16 to Sunday, 24 January, the concrete box structure, which will carry the new lines, will be pushed into place. This means there will be limited services on the East Coast Main Line between Grantham and Peterborough over this nine-day period, and some passengers may have to complete part of their journey by rail replacement services. People travelling to and from Scotland may additionally need to change trains at Newcastle during this time. All passengers who need to travel are strongly advised to plan their journeys in advance.

ENDS

Contact information

Passengers / community members
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Latest travel advice
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Amy.Brenndorfer@networkrail.co.uk

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