This Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the line between St. Pancras International and Kentish Town will be closed as Network Rail will be carrying out major work to upgrade the track.
The track was laid in the 1970s, and this work is the final stage of a programme to upgrade it, which began in 2017.
Christmas is an ideal time to carry out the work as no train services are timetabled on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
Work will last from the early hours of Christmas Day until before the first service on Wednesday, 5 January 2022.
this time engineers will work around the clock to remove the last section of slab track on the route, which was installed in 1979, and replace it with the conventional ballasted track that is supported .with stones and sleepers.
Network Rail will take advantage of the line’s closure to carry out works elsewhere, including:
- work to decommission Sundon feeder station, which been replaced to enable more electric trains to run on the route;
- replacement of the deck of a bridge which carries the railway over the canal at Cranfleet Cut in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire. The old bridge will be replaced over Christmas with further work to be carried out at New Year;
- work at Market Harborough to prepare the line to be electrified.
Although work will continue after Boxing Day, trains will run but with reduced services on both Thameslink and East Midlands Railway.
Reduced services will be in place from Monday 27 December until Tuesday 4 January.
Until 12:00 on Monday, 27 December, EMR services will start and terminate at Luton.
From 12:00 on Monday, 27 December to Monday, 3 January, EMR will run three trains per hour (one each to Corby, Nottingham and Sheffield).
Gary Walsh, Route Director for Network Rail’s East Midlands route, said: “As most people open their presents and enjoy the festivities, our teams will be taking the opportunity to make major progress on the final stages of this programme. The current slab track has served this busy line well for forty years, but we’re replacing it now to make sure trains can continue running safely and reliably for years to come.
“We can only complete this work safely when a reduced train service is running. I want to thank passengers for their continued patience and ask anyone who plans to travel over the Christmas period to check their journey, plan ahead and allow plenty of time.”
Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said: “The Kentish Town project is bringing our passengers a more modern, reliable railway. We’re able to run a reduced service so that people can still travel during the work, and we advise customers to check train times in advance.”
Neil Grabham, Customer Service Director for EMR, said: “We know that many of our passengers will be using our train services to travel around and visit family and friends over the Christmas period.
“Any passengers planning on travelling between Monday 27th December and Tuesday 4th January are advised to check our website and plan their journey in advance, as we will be running a reduced EMR Intercity service to and from London St Pancras.
“We would like to thank passengers for their patience whilst this crucial engineering works are taking place.