Rail engineers complete digital upgrade work on East Coast Main Line but further work planned near Grantham in February

Network Rail teams have completed two weekends of upgrade work as part of the billion-pound East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP), with further work planned between London King’s Cross and Grantham in February.
Work being carried out over Christmas 2023 by Network Rail (submitted).Work being carried out over Christmas 2023 by Network Rail (submitted).
Work being carried out over Christmas 2023 by Network Rail (submitted).

Over the last two weekends, engineers have worked around the clock carrying out further work in preparation for digital, in-cab signalling to operate on the East Coast Main Line in 2025, resulting in more reliable, resilient, and greener journeys.

Further improvements to the track have been carried out, as well as adjustments to overhead line equipment, and testing of newly installed cabling and equipment that will make the new system function.

Across February, further ECDP upgrades will be carried resulting in some changes to services. On Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 February, work mainly additional to the ECDP, will be taking place between London and Peterborough.

As a result, Lincolnshire rail passengers are warned that LNER will be operating a reduced service starting and terminating at Grantham all weekend. Rail replacement coaches will run between Grantham and Huntingdon where customers can join a rail shuttle service to London King’s Cross.

Furthermore, from Saturday 17 February until Tuesday 20 February 2024, there will be no LNER trains to or from London King’s Cross. During this time, the signalling system between Welwyn and Hitchin will be commissioned, allowing for train testing as part of the next phase of the programme.

LNER will operate a reduced service starting and terminating at Peterborough. Rail replacement coaches will run between Peterborough and Bedford, where customers can join other operators’ services to London St Pancras.

On Saturday 10, Sunday 11, Saturday 17, and Sunday 18 February, Hull Trains will be running a reduced train service of two trains in each direction which will divert at Doncaster and terminate in London St Pancras.

However, on Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 February, Hull Trains will be terminating in Doncaster, with no services running to or from London, Grantham or Retford.

Lumo services will only operate between Edinburgh and Newcastle, with Grand Central operating no service on all of the affected days.

Ricky Barsby, Head of Access and Integration for East Coast Digital Programme, said: “This is a huge milestone for the project. Commissioning the Welwyn to Hitchin stretch will allow us to start testing the new system with trains and is testament to the incredible hard work and dedication of our engineers over the last year.

“We know this extended work will cause disruption to passengers and we are very sorry for that. We would encourage all passengers to check their journey via National Rail Enquiries before they travel and want to thank them for their patience and understanding.”

A spokesperson on behalf of LNER, Hull Trains, Lumo and Grand Central said: “Our teams will be working hard to keep passengers on the move and get them to their destination as quickly and as efficiently as they can during this work.

“All the latest travel information, including how passengers’ journeys may be affected, can be found on our websites, social media channels, or at our stations.”