Network Rail’s project to increase the number of tracks at King’s Cross station is going to cause a lot of disruption over the year ahead and they’ve outlined the dates to avoid the station. A major part of the project is replacing tracks and a track layout, which is nearly 50 years old, on the 1.5-mile approach into London King’s Cross.
In addition to weekend closures, the biggest impact will be three months in 2021 when peak hour trains will be reduced. The amended timetable will run from Monday 1st March to Friday 4th June 2021 — and will see peak hour trains reduced from 12 per hour to 10 per hour.
Doesn’t sound much, but that’s a 13 per cent cut in capacity on already overcrowded during the rush hours — so Network Rail is giving people nearly six months notice to try and find a way of avoiding the rush hours for those months.
The project will increase the number of tracks on the approach to the station from four to six by opening up a disused tunnel — and that will allow more trains to use the station per hour — as the main problem to increasing the number of trains per hour isn’t inside the station, but getting them in and out of the station. There’s just not enough space in the existing tunnels, so trains sit in the station for longer, and that means less space for trains arriving.
Solve the tunnels congestion and you can run more trains in and out of the station during the rush hour. Once completed in late 2021 the upgrade will deliver extra capacity for an additional two long-distance services an hour in and out of London. That’s an extra 10,000 seats per day.
Tidying up the approach tracks will also allow some longer suburban trains as well, increasing capacity on those services.
Although work has been underway for well over a year preparing the tunnel approach, there comes a point where work to tie in the new and old needs to be carried out, and that impacts on the existing railway tracks.
Current key dates for the upgrade work are as follows
(these are subject to change and passengers will be kept informed of any changes):
Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 September – King’s Cross Station closed.
Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October – King’s Cross Station closed. No services to or from St Pancras Station via Finsbury Park.
Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 November – Reduced service into King’s Cross Station.
Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 November – King’s Cross Station closed. No services to or from St Pancras Station via Finsbury Park
Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 November – Reduced service into and out of King’s Cross Station.
Friday 25 to Wednesday 30 December – King’s Cross Station closed.
Thursday 31 December through to Sunday 3 January – An amended timetable will operate.
Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 January – King’s Cross Station closed. No services to or from St Pancras Station via Finsbury Park.
Friday 26, Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 February – King’s Cross Station closed. No services to or from St Pancras Station via Finsbury Park.
Monday 1 March through to Friday 4 June – A reduced timetable will operate at King’s Cross station. At peak times on weekdays, ten trains per hour will arrive at King’s Cross, two fewer than operating today, with a reduced impact at less busy times when fewer trains usually operate.
Friday 23 through to Sunday 25 April – King’s Cross Station closed. On Sat/Sun only no services to or from St Pancras Station via Finsbury Park.
Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 June – King’s Cross Station closed. No services to or from St Pancras Station via Finsbury Park.
A passenger awareness campaign will start in the coming weeks advising customers to plan ahead and check before travelling. The biggest impact will be on customers travelling at peak times, so passengers will be advised to travel outside of these times where possible or to seek alternative ways into and out of London.
Thameslink services to St Pancras International and Great Northern services to Moorgate will operate to a normal timetable, except during certain weekends when engineering work affects the wider area.