Network Rail completes London King’s Cross upgrade

A multi-million pound upgrade designed to future proof London’s King’s Cross station was completed last week by Network Rail. The ‘once-in-a-generation’ improvement scheme should radically improve services for passengers.

The scheme – dubbed ‘King’s Uncrossed’ – involved a wholesale replacement of the over 40-year-old tracks and track layout on the 1.5-mile approach into the station as part of the 1.2 billion pound (1.4 billion euros) East Coast Upgrade.

It also saw the reopening of a disused tunnel after 44 years to add two additional lines into the station from the north. The complex and challenging programme has seen the replacement of over 6 kilometres of new track, over 30 new sets of points, more than 50 new signals and over 20 kilometres of new overhead wires. Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “This is an amazing achievement and a huge step in the extensive 1.2 billion pound upgrade of the East Coast Main Line, which will better connect the country North to South.”

Unlocking capacity

At the same time as the King’s Cross work, Network Rail engineers have been continuing work on a new tunnel and 3 kilometres of new line at Werrington, north of Peterborough. The goals is that slower moving freight trains will no longer cut across the East Coast Main Line, helping to unlock capacity on the route. This new tunnel is due to open in the Autumn.

They are also improving the power supply on the East Coast Main Line to enable more electric trains to run. Taken together, these upgrades should deliver improved reliability and punctuality for passengers. It also ensures the route has the capacity to deal with future passenger volumes.

More reliable train journeys

David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, which operates on the East Coast Main Line, said: “The completion of the East Coast Upgrade programme will allow us to continue our transformation of the LNER route. 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.”

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Author: Esther Geerts

Editor of RailTech.com

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