Network Rail has confirmed the schedule for its work at King’s Cross over the next year.
The £1.2 billion East Coast Upgrade will deliver improved reliability and punctuality for passengers and will ensure the route has the capacity to deal with future passenger volumes.
The King’s Cross work will include a re-design of the track layout and re-opening a third tunnel closed in the 1970s, creating six tracks into the station, instead of the current four. This will increase reliability and enable trains to arrive and leave the station more rapidly, helping to keep trains on time.
A major part of the project is replacing tracks and a track layout, which is nearly 50 years old, on the 1.5-mile approach into London King’s Cross. This work will require the temporary closure of individual tracks and platforms at King’s Cross at different times over a three-month period between Monday 1 March and Friday 4 June 2021. Closures are also planned for this year, at Christmas and over a number of weekends next year, including February 26, 27 and 28; April 23, 24, 25, and June 5 and 6.
It will mean that from 1 March to 4 June 2021, there will be temporary changes to LNER, Great Northern, Thameslink, Hull Trains and Grand Central services, with a slightly reduced peak service into and out of King’s Cross compared to current levels. Off-peak services will be less impacted, and passengers will be encouraged to travel at less busy times.
Ahead of the work at King’s Cross, Network Rail is also building a new tunnel and 1.9 miles of new line at Werrington, north of Peterborough so that slower moving freight trains will no longer cut across the East Coast Main Line, helping to unlock capacity on the route. This will mean a nine-day period of disruption between 16 and 24 January 2021, with reduced long-distance services and longer journey times.
Thameslink services to St Pancras International and Great Northern services to Moorgate will operate to a normal timetable, except during certain weekends when engineering work affects the wider area.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “The £1.2 billion East Coast Upgrade programme is vital to improve the service on the railway for tens of thousands of passengers who travel on the line.
“We know these works will cause some disruption and inconvenience, and apologise to those affected, but we also know that this short-term pain will deliver long-term gain for passengers along the entire route.
“The King’s Cross work will cut congestion and speed up arrivals and departures every day, when it’s complete. And that’s why we are grateful to everyone for their patience while these vital works are done.”
Ed Akers, principal programme sponsor for Network Rail, added: “The East Coast Upgrade is going to deliver massive benefits for reliability and train capacity for passengers – but we can’t deliver the work without some short-term disruption.
“Restricting access to such a key station is a tremendously complex job of planning and preparation and it’s a tribute to the industry that we have managed to schedule this work despite all the other pressures caused by the pandemic.
“We want to deliver this vital job with as little disruption as possible, but we know it’s going to have an impact on people going about their daily lives. I’m sorry about that, but I promise it will be worth it in the long run and I’d like to thank passengers for bearing with us while we work.”