Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce News

The East Coast Upgrade

16 Oct 2019 by Felix Shaw

The East Coast Upgrade is an ongoing £1.2bn Network Rail investment into the East Coast Main Line (ECML), which runs 393 miles from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh Waverley. Once complete, the upgrade will enable up to 10,000 extra seats a day on long-distance train services, create faster journeys and improve reliability for passengers. Over the coming weeks we will be rolling out communications to our passengers and stakeholders ahead of the next phase of disruptive work in January/February 2020.

Chamber Blog Image 1 Chamber Blog Image 1

The ECML has not seen such a significant upgrade for 30 years, and in order to deliver this step-change in service we need to access the railway at times when passenger services usually run. We know the ECML is a hugely important rail link and that closures can be disruptive for our passengers. We continue to work as an industry to reduce weekday disruption by scheduling work on weekends wherever possible. We have also learnt lessons from the past 12 months and we are giving as much advance warning of disruption as possible, in order to reduce the impact of the closures on the local economy and communities along the line.

We have already successfully delivered a significant amount of work, including over the August bank holiday this year when almost 80% of passengers knew that work was taking place, allowing them to plan their journeys accordingly. The next phase of the upgrade that will be disruptive for passengers will take place across weekends in early 2020.

What’s next?

Additionally this Christmas, following the usual closure of the network on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, a reduced train service will also be in operation at King’s Cross on the morning of Friday 27 December. Specifically, Platforms 0-6 will be closed until 13:00 meaning that fewer trains will be running. After 13:00, a normal Saturday service will be in operation until the end of the day. 

Over the weekends of Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 January, as well as Saturday 29 February and Sunday 1 Marchno trains will run in or out of King’s Cross as engineers work to renew track on the approach to the station, and continue work to relocate our signalling system to our state-of-the-art centre in York. As a result, the industry is strongly advising passengers not to travel to or from London on the East Coast Main Line over these weekends. Journeys will be significantly impacted on the southern end of the line between London King’s Cross and Peterborough, from Moorgate to Stevenage via Hertford North, and from St Pancras to Cambridge. 

In addition to the two weekends when no trains are running, there will be some route diversions, service disruption and platform closures at King’s Cross station during the other weekends in January and February. The industry is advising passengers to check their journeys before travelling on these weekends, although disruption will be significantly less than over the weekends when no trains can run.

Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 January

Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 January

Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 January

Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 February

Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 February

Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 February

Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 February

Further work is planned for later in 2020 and details for these will be communicated as soon as they are confirmed.

Keeping in touch

In partnership with train operating companies, we are committed to delivering a cross-channel communications campaign to further inform passengers, businesses and stakeholders of the upcoming work – both of the unavoidable disruption and of the long-term benefits it will bring. This includes mapping our work against festivals and sporting events to ensure we communicate directly with affected stakeholder groups and to the political, business and tourism organisations which represent them. This will also involve a drop-in event early next year where further detail on the East Coast Upgrade, its benefits and its impact during delivery will be available from a group of programme representatives from across the rail industry.

The latest information for passengers affected by any of our work on the East Coast Upgrade is available at http://eastcoastupgrade.co.uk