Network Rail is warning that there will not be any trains in or out of London King’s Cross, and no Thameslink services via Finsbury Park, on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st June.

The closure is the latest stage of the project which will eventually see a disused railway tunnel leading to King’s Cross reopened, allowing additional tracks to be laid so more trains can enter and exit the station.

There are enough platforms, but the bottleneck on the approach to the station causes delays. At the moment, there are four tracks in two tunnels on the approach to the station, and when finished, there will be six tracks in three tunnels, so less chance of a train approaching the station being held up waiting for space.

Disused tunnel on the right side (c) Network Rail

They are also shifting a lot of the crossovers on the tracks further north to simplify the network layout, which makes it much more reliable to operate.

When combined with upgrades elsewhere on the route, the East Coast Upgrade will also deliver capacity for operators to run more trains, adding an extra 10,000 seats every day. Apart from increasing capacity on the line, the cleaned-up layout allows the new Azuma fleet to utilise its increased acceleration when leaving the station so journeys can be slightly quicker.

Edited track layout diagrams based on Network Rail originals

Keen eyes might spot that the revamp loses a platform – that’s so there’s space lengthen and widen the platforms for longer trains. Technically, platform 10 goes, and platform 11 becomes the new platform 10.

All this work means closures though to do the engineering works.

On the Govia Thameslink Railway network, no Great Northern or Thameslink services will run on the East Coast Main Line into King’s Cross, St Pancras or Moorgate. Rail replacement buses will operate from Potters Bar and New Barnet to London Underground stations.

On LNER services, rail replacement buses will operate between St Neots and Bedford where those still travelling can take Thameslink services via Kentish Town into London.


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  1. Tim Ottevanger says:

    Wouldn’t it make sense to use this opportunity to change the platform numbering and get rid of the ridiculous platform 0 and go from 1 to 11?

    • ianvisits says:

      That would involve a huge amount of resignalling work long most of the line — and offer no practical benefit to passengers.

  2. JP says:

    There’s less access to and from some platforms too.
    If you’re on the up line in the western Copenhagen tunnel for instance, you can soon only get to platforms 7 – 10/11, whereas now you can get as far east as platform 1. Other quibbles are available if you have the inclination and a little too much time.
    I imagine that things have probably not gone to plan if you have to dive across the whole throat of the station at the last chance, but I think that “future-proofing” entails removal of all restrictions and opening of all opportunities.

  3. Martin Benson says:

    Isn’t this just going to move the bottleneck from Gasworks Tunnel into Copenhagen Tunnel?

    • Paul says:

      The bottleneck isn’t the tunnel, it’s the compact layout of tracks between the tunnel and the station. By using the additional tunnel, more space can be used for the track layout to remove the bottleneck and allow more intensive train movements.

      Large terminating stations are a challenge for trackwork because all trains have to enter and leave in opposite directions, thus constantly crossing each others paths onto different tracks. The more track switches and crossings there are to allow this, the more trains can move in and out simultaneously.

  4. Clive Wilkins says:

    The elephant in the room for capacity constraints is the two line section through Welwyn. Where are the plans to improve this ? It makes all other planned improvements less cost effective.

    • Paul says:

      Improving this has been studied time and time again – a second or widened viaduct across Welwyn is simply not a practical option. Aside from the visual impact on the area, the benefits, whilst significant, would not justify the substantial cost.

      The viable solution on the table to relieve the ECML is the HS2 eastern leg to Leeds and York. With that in place, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh trains can be routed that way, leaving the classic ECML route for more intensive services further South.

  5. Jordan D says:

    To think of the massive amount they spent on creating Plat 0, “because of capacity constraints” only to lose it a few years later.

    • ChrisC says:

      Where did you get the idea that 0 is going from?

      It’s clearly still there in the before and after diagrams.

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