Network Rail has confirmed the completion of a key project to improve the East Coast Mainline for rail users.
East Coast Upgrade Project
Over the past few years Network Rail has been carrying out work towards the East Coast Upgrade Project, a £1.2 billion scheme funded by the Government to upgrade the East Coast Mainline to improve the route for passengers.
Part of the project was a complete revamp of the outdated layout and infrastructure at King’s Cross Station, the busiest station on the East Coast Mainline.
Work carried in the revamp included:
- Reopening a tunnel, which was disused for over 40 years
- Laying 6km of new rails
- Fitting 30 sets of points
- Installing 50 new signals
- Laying 20km of overhead wires to power trains
This work at King’s Cross Station has been completed, with the station back to normal operation last week.
Other work being carried out to improve the East Coast Mainline includes:
- Creating a tunnel and laying 1.9 miles of track to stop slow travelling freight trains from crossing faster lines at Werrington, north of Peterborough
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “This is an amazing achievement and a huge step in the extensive £1.2bn upgrade of the East Coast Main Line, which will better connect the country North to South.”
Managing Director for Network Rail’s Eastern Region Rob McIntosh said: “This is day to remember for everyone involved in this mammoth undertaking – they should all be extremely proud of what they’ve achieved.
“To complete such an ambitious scheme that will bring so many important benefits to passengers, whilst at the same time working hard to keep disruption to a minimum, is testament to the dedication and teamwork of the many different professionals who have worked on it.
“I want to put on record my thanks to all our industry partners, including those operators who, while not directly impacted by the King’s Cross work, have helped to ensure our passenger handling plans were thorough and were able to deal with all eventualities. This has been a truly fantastic example of cross industry working.
“Finally, I want to say a big thank you to our passengers for their patience and understanding, especially during those periods when it was necessary to close the station or reduce services.”
Managing Director at LNER David Horne said: “The completion of the East Coast Upgrade programme will allow us to continue our transformation of the LNER route. We are very grateful for the patience and understanding of customers while the work has been carried out over the past two years. I would also like to thank Network Rail and other industry partners for their hard work ensuring the successful delivery of the project.
“We are looking forward to bringing the significant benefits of the East Coast Upgrade to our customers and communities, transforming rail services with faster, more frequent and more reliable train journeys between London, the north of England and Scotland.
Thameslink and Great Northern Managing Director Tom Moran, co-chair of the delivery board, said: “I am delighted that passengers can now reap the benefits of this massive upgrade several months earlier than originally planned. The rail industry has worked together to complete these works during the national lockdown when fewer passengers were travelling and, as a result, King’s Cross will now be fully open just as we welcome more and more customers back to rail.”
Chief Executive of Transport Focus, Anthony Smith said: “Passengers tell us that they like to know in advance when works will be taking place, so they can plan around it.
“We were pleased to work with Network Rail and train operators throughout the planning stages of the east coast upgrade. We stressed the importance of putting passenger needs at the heart of the engineering arrangements. The final plans delivered as many journeys as possible, included replacement services and had detailed communications to keep passengers informed.”
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