Rail passengers reminded to check before travelling as further upgrade work planned for East Coast Main Line this month
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The East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) is a billion-pound project to upgrade and digitise signalling, bringing it into the drivers’ cab, meaning a more reliable, efficient and greener railway, according to Network Rail.
During the next phases of work on this landmark scheme, which will take place across multiple dates in February, there will be some significant changes to train services to and from London King’s Cross, including on two midweek dates.
The completion of the February work will be a significant milestone in the programme with the commissioning of the section between Welwyn and Hitchin, allowing for system testing.
On Saturday February 10 and Sunday February 11, work will take place between London and Peterborough, mainly focused on upgrading switches and crossings, the specialist equipment used by trains to change tracks from one to another.
As a result, throughout the weekend LNER will operate a reduced service starting and terminating at Grantham. Rail replacement coaches will run between Grantham and Huntingdon where customers can join rail shuttle services to London King’s Cross. Lumo services will only operate between Edinburgh and Newcastle on this weekend.
From Saturday February 17 to Tuesday February 20, further work will be carried out as part of the ECDP. Across these four days, there will be no direct long distance trains to or from London King’s Cross.
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.
Across these dates, Lumo will operate a reduced service to and from London with a non-stop rail replacement coach between London King’s Cross and Peterborough connecting with a Lumo train to and from Newcastle.
A separate Lumo shuttle service will operate between Edinburgh and Newcastle only.
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 on Saturday February 10, Sunday February 11, Saturday February 17, and Sunday February 18.
However, on Monday February 19 and Tuesday February 20, Hull Trains services will be terminating in Doncaster, with no services running to or from London, Grantham or Retford.
Grand Central will operate no service on all of the affected days.
Customers are advised to plan ahead and check before travelling as impacted journeys will take longer and may involve a rail replacement coach service.
Members of the ECDP team and representatives from train operators have been at King’s Cross, talking to the public about the programme, what benefits it will bring, and handing out cards explaining how their journeys may be impacted over the coming weeks. Colleagues will also be at the station on Wednesday February 7 and Thursday February 8.
Ricky Barsby, Head of Access and Integration for East Coast Digital Programme, said: “By commissioning the Welwyn and Hitchin section, it will enable us to test the new system with trains. This is a significant milestone of the East Coast Digital Programme.
“The additional work on Saturday February 10 and Sunday February 11 will also allow us to make vital improvements to the railway including upgrades to switches and crossings which will mean smoother and more reliable journeys for passengers.
“We want to thank passengers for their patience and understanding ahead of this essential work and are reminding passengers to check their journey before they travel via National Rail Enquiries or through their train operator.”
A spokesperson on behalf of LNER, Hull Trains, Lumo and Grand Central said: “Our teams will be working extremely hard to ensure passengers reach their destination as quickly as possible while these upgrades are carried out.
“The latest travel information can be found on our websites and on our social media platforms and we advise passengers to plan ahead and check before they travel.”