Passenger disruption at London King’s Cross as four-day engineering works begin

Travellers who use London’s King’s Cross Station are facing disruption as rail engineering work takes place.

No long-distance services will run on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) to or from London King’s Cross between Saturday and Tuesday, Network Rail has said.

A statement on the East Coast Digital Programme website tells customers: “There will be some periods of disruption to passenger services while upgrade work is taking place – as would happen with a conventional signalling renewal.

“Once digital signalling is fully installed and in use, there will be less lineside equipment to maintain, and consequently less disruption in future.”

Maintenance and upgrade work requiring line closures is traditionally restricted to weekends and bank holidays to minimise the number of passengers affected, causing frustration for many people planning day trips and holidays.

But this policy has been relaxed on the ECML as the growth in both home working and leisure travel, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and the end of lockdown restrictions respectively, mean passenger numbers on the line on weekdays and weekends are similar.

The project is part of a £1 billion scheme to upgrade and digitise signalling.

The system being introduced is designed to be more reliable and enable trains to run closer together safely, increasing capacity.

Ricky Barsby, head of access and integration for Network Rail’s East Coast Digital Programme, said this month’s engineering work at the southern end of the ECML is “a significant milestone” for the project and will mean “smoother and more reliable journeys for passengers”.

Passengers are being asked to check their journey before they travel.

Affected operators LNER, Hull Trains, Lumo and Grand Central said in a joint statement: “Our teams will be working extremely hard to ensure passengers reach their destination as quickly as possible while these upgrades are carried out.”

They added that latest travel information can be found on its websites and social media platforms.

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