“Do not travel” is the message for many UK rail passengers this weekend because of widespread engineering work.
The London terminus for the UK’s flagship rail line is closed this weekend as part of a long-term project to unlock extra capacity.
King’s Cross station, hub for the East Coast main line, will be completely closed on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 January as part of a £1.2bn project to install two new tracks by restoring a disused tunnel and renewing a mile and a half of existing tracks.
LNER, which runs trains from King’s Cross to Leeds, Newcastle and Scotland, is urging passengers: “Do not travel to or from London.”
There will be some services to and from Peterborough to Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh. LNER is warning that these trains will be very busy.
Heading south, there will be a bus link from Peterborough, taking about an hour to Bedford. Here, passengers can board Thameslink trains to London St Pancras.
While there are alternative routes on East Midlands Railway connecting St Pancras with Sheffield via Leicester and Derby, and on Avanti West Coast from Euston to Manchester and Glasgow, north-south services are likely be heavily booked.
For travellers to northeast Scotland, the outlook on Sunday is even worse. Long-running engineering works mean that the line from Dundee to Aberdeen is closed every Sunday this year up to and including 9 February.
Another closure is scheduled at King’s Cross over the weekend of 29 February and 1 March. Before that, the weekends of 8 and 9 February and 15 and 16 February will see far fewer trains. “Please ensure you have reserved a seat with your ticket,” says LNER.
On the Greater Anglia network from London Liverpool Street, travellers will experience another weekend where track and overhead line renewal work means there are no through trains to north Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.
On Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 January, passengers from Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester must take a train to Ingatestone and a bus from there to Newbury Park on the Central Line of the London Underground.
Across the capital, passengers from the UK’s busiest station, Waterloo, also face disruption at the weekend.
The main South Western Railway route between Clapham Junction and Surbiton will be closed all weekend, with buses replacing trains to Epsom, Kingston and Chessington South.
Long-distance services will be affected. The link from London to Portsmouth will will be from Victoria, adding nearly an hour to journey times.
Trains to Southampton are being diverted around the engineering work, with journeys stretched by at least 20 minutes.