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.

Edited track layout diagrams based on Network Rail originals

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):

2020

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.

2021

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.

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15 comments on “King’s Cross station to cut rush hour services for three months
  1. Nigel Keer says:

    When Kings Cross is closed why not simply divert trains into Liverpool Street via Canonbury and the Graham Road curve? If that’s not possible you could divert from Peterborough via Ely and Cambridge.

  2. Jon Luke says:

    What’s the reasoning behind losing platform 11? Surely one less platform will make congestion worse. Also, with all the improvements at LKX, is anything planned to release the bottleneck at Welling viaduct?

    • The trains will need to spend much less time hanging around in King’s Cross station, so the loss of platform 11 will not be a problem.

    • Maurice Reed says:

      Apparently not as they reckon the modern signalling can channel the traffic through the twin-track section ok.

    • Ric Euteneuer says:

      Being able to build more shops, I believe is the prime motivator. I think the idea is that there will be more trains through the core that will apparently make up for this – but, as we have seen, that’s problematic, as the system is barely coping with the present level of traffic.

    • ianvisits says:

      Ric — total and utter rubbish.

      Please read the other comments before you comment.

    • Paul says:

      I believe platforms 8, 9 and 11 (=new 10) will be able to handle more and longer trains at the same time by the removal of the old platform 10 and realignment of platform 9.

  3. G moore says:

    Shutting platform 11 is a Beeching level mistake. When Moorgate or the core has problems kgx just won’t be able to handle the number of trains. Once it’s gone it will be very hard to restore at a later date.

    • Alistair Twiname says:

      but the point is that the only reason it fills now is that they cant get out in time.. presumably keeping the additional platform would slow throughput, making it worse than the proposals 99% of the time.

      If there is a moregate problem, cant they turn trains around at finsbury park?

  4. JP says:

    Thank you Ian for trawling through the information and providing us with a clear and concise account. Even if it’s all drag and drop, which I sincerely doubt, the continuing commitment to providing useful and timely information is much appreciated. Ta.

  5. ChrisC says:

    Ian has answered the “why close platform 11???” Question several times in previous posts in this topic.

    See here for example https://www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog/2020/06/10/no-trains-from-kings-cross-next-weekend/

    The reason is extending the length and width of the platforms – to be able to accommodate longer trains – cuts off the train path to what was platform 10.

    Platform 11 is renumbered as 10 – as per the diagram.

    And even with the loss of one platform there will still be 2 additional trains an hour.

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