Network Rail and train operators on the East Coast Main Line are reminding passengers who need to travel over the Christmas period to check on any essential journeys, during a six-day closure at London King’s Cross.
People must follow the latest Government guidance over the Christmas period and stay at home or stay local to help tackle the spread of COVID-19.
People should avoid travel into or out of London, which is now a Tier 4 area, unless there is a good reason.
Those who must travel on the East Coast Main Line should allow plenty of time as services which are running are expected to be busy.
Once complete, the East Coast Upgrade will transform journeys between London, York, Selby, the North of England and Scotland. It will bring a more modern, reliable railway for passengers and ensure the route has more capacity to deal with future passenger volumes.
Between Christmas Day and Wednesday 30 December (inclusive), Network Rail teams will be reconstructing, strengthening and diverting Camden Sewer, which runs beneath the railway just outside King’s Cross. This complex part of the project, which involves lifting a large section of all the tracks that serve the station, can only be carried out safely when there are no trains running in the area for six days.
New overhead line equipment will also be installed, as well as work to renew some of the tracks.
- Thursday 24 December 2020 – 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 are expected to be very busy, so passengers should plan their journey and they will need a seat reservation.
- 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 Finsbury Park or Moorgate. London Underground services will be available from both these stations
- 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 or Moorgate. 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 busy.
Passengers must have seat reservations on all LNER services. Grand Central at Northallerton, Thirsk and York will not run any services between 25 December and 1 January. Hull Trains at Selby will not run between 25 December and 30 December.
Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade, said: “This six-day closure from Christmas Day is essential so we can reach a major milestone on the East Coast Upgrade, which once complete, will bring a more reliable railway for passengers and help meet future demand.
“It’s essential that people follow the Government guidance and stay at home or stay local.
If you have to travel over Christmas, please check your journey and plan ahead where possible to avoid disappointment.”
A spokesperson on behalf of train operators on the route said: “Train services which are running on the East Coast Main Line over the festive period are likely to be very busy, so please only travel to or from London if you have to.”
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 over nine days in January. The new tunnel will allow slower freight services to dive under the East Coast Main Line instead of crossing it, making more space for additional passenger services to Yorkshire.
From Saturday 16 to Sunday 24 January, three of the East Coast Main Line tracks will be removed and the concrete box structure, which will carry the new lines, will be pushed into place. During this time, there will be limited services on the East Coast Main Line between Grantham and Peterborough.
Some passengers may have to complete part of their journey by rail replacement services, and people travelling to and from Scotland may additionally need to change trains at Newcastle. All passengers who need to travel are strongly advised to plan their journeys in advance.