Network Rail engineers have completed a major improvement scheme to King’s Cross station and the surrounding track layout, in a project of work which has been described as “once-in-a-generation”.
The multi-million pound improvements, which form a key part of the wider £1.2bn East Coast Upgrade, saw Network Rail carry out wholesale replacements of more than 40-year-old track and track layout on the 1.5-mile approach into the station.
As part of the newly-improved approach layout, a disused tunnel was reopened after 44 years out of use to add two additional lines into the station from the north.
Across the whole improvement scheme, dubbed ‘King’s Uncrossed’ by Network Rail, engineers carried out the replacement of:
- Over 6km of new track
- Over 30 new sets of points
- Over 50 new signals
- Over 20km of new overhead wires
Elsewhere, continuing progress on the wider line upgrade, Network Rail engineers have also been continuing to work on a new tunnel and 1.9 miles of new line at Werrington, north of Peterborough, to allow for slower-moving freight trains to no longer have to cut across the East Coast Main Line and reducing available capacity. The new tunnel is due to open in Autumn.
Power supply on the East Coast Main Line is also being improved to enable faster, quieter and more environmentally-friendly electric trains to run.
The upgrades at King’s Cross and beyond will ensure more reliable and punctual services for passengers, as well as boosting capacity to handle future, anticipated increases in passenger volume.
“Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “This is an amazing achievement and a huge step in the extensive £1.2bn upgrade of the East Coast Main Line, which will better connect the country North to South.”
Rob McIntosh, Managing Director for Network Rail's Eastern region, added: “This is day to remember for everyone involved in this mammoth undertaking – they should all be extremely proud of what they’ve achieved.
“To complete such an ambitious scheme that will bring so many important benefits to passengers, whilst at the same time working hard to keep disruption to a minimum, is testament to the dedication and teamwork of the many different professionals who have worked on it.
“I want to put on record my thanks to all our industry partners, including those operators who, while not directly impacted by the King’s Cross work, have helped to ensure our passenger handling plans were thorough and were able to deal with all eventualities. This has been a truly fantastic example of cross industry working.”