Starting today, Monday 26th September, works will begin to introduce changes on the rail routes between King's Lynn, Cambridge and London King's Cross as engineers attempt to repair the lingering track defects that were caused by historic heatwaves this year.
The exposures to extreme heat and the dry climates had caused the ground beneath the tracks to become peaty and unstable, leading to shrinkage along the line and unstable passenger travel conditions. To combat these conditions, Network Rail implemented speed restrictions to allow a rail service to run safely and to prevent further damage to the track. Engineering works over the last four weeks have seen track realignments, which have slowly allowed these speed restrictions to be removed in some areas but not enough to run the full timetable reliably.
To perform these upgrade works safely whilst minimising disruptions for passenger journeys, a decision has today been taken jointly by Network Rail and GTR that the line will close early at 20:45 each weekday evening, Mondays to Fridays up to and including Tuesday 4 October.
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said:
“We recognise the impact this is having on passengers, so this remedial work is being carried out as a priority. The early closure of the line will help to speed up this work. I am very sorry for the delays and thank passengers for their patience while we carry out these repairs.”
It is hoped that these works and early closures will culminate in the removal of speed restrictions, whilst restoring normal through services from King's Lynn to London from Wednesday 5 October, although this will be subject to final checks.
Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Great Northern and Thameslink, said:
"We’re sorry for the continued changes we’re having to make to our rail service between Kings Lynn, Cambridge and London but it is absolutely essential to ensure the continued safe running of our trains and to give our customers a dependable service.
"We'll continue not running some of our trains between London and Cambridge or Ely in the meantime, which will make other services busier, and passengers for stations along the route to King's Lynn will have to continue changing at Cambridge until the direct service can be restored.”
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