Digital upgrades affecting rail services across the whole country over August Bank Holiday weekend

Passengers intending to travel to and from London King’s Cross and other destinations on the East Coast Main Line, and all other routes via Peterborough, over the August Bank Holiday weekend (26-28 August 2023) are being asked to plan ahead and check how their journey may be affected.
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Further upgrade work is taking place to deliver the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP), which will create a more reliable railway with lower emissions through the introduction of digital technology. Traditional lineside signals will be replaced by continuous signalling information to a screen in the driver’s cab.

New equipment and technology is being installed between Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin in Hertfordshire, preparing the way for that section to begin using digital signalling from 2025. Upgrade work is also taking place in the Peterborough area, enabling a move of local signalling control to our modern operating centre in York. Dynamic software is being introduced to efficiently move trains across junctions and reduce delays; the first such deployment on the East Coast Main Line.

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Between late evening Saturday 26 August and early morning Monday 28 August buses and coaches will replace trains on the East Coast Main Line between Grantham, Royston and Potters Bar/Hertford North. During that time there will be no train services at Peterborough and buses will also replace trains on services between Grantham/Leicester and Ely. The work has been planned to ensure that passengers making trips over the long weekend will have unaffected journeys during Friday and most of Saturday and Monday.

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Ed Akers, Network Rail’s Principal Programme Sponsor, ECDP said: “The August Bank Holiday weekend work will enable further progress towards Britain’s first digital signalling on an intercity mainline. We’ve carefully planned the work to avoid the busiest travelling times, and to progress two different elements of digital change at the same time. Both sets of work will contribute to enabling more reliable journeys in the years ahead.

“We are sorry for the disruption that this work will cause passengers, and thank them for their patience.”

A spokesperson on behalf of train operators on routes affected said: “These upgrades on the East Coast Main Line will mean disruption to services over part of the August Bank Holiday weekend, so we urge passengers to follow the advice given and check their journey before travelling.

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“We are working hard to keep people moving, with rail replacement services and diversion routes, but this means some journeys will take longer and may be busier than usual.”

Service information


From 20:00 on Saturday 26 August until 08:00 on Monday 28 August, no services will run between Grantham and London King's Cross. A reduced LNER service will start and finish at Grantham, with rail replacement coaches in place between Grantham and Peterborough, and between Grantham and Corby/Kettering, where passengers can connect to rail services to London St Pancras.

Grand Central

No Grand Central services will operate on Sunday 27 August. On Saturday 26 August some services will be retimed to operate earlier.

Hull Trains

Hull Trains will operate a reduced service on Sunday 27 August. All services will operate direct via the Midland Main Line into London St Pancras with extended journey times. Due to the diversions, Hull Trains services will only be calling at Hull, Brough, Howden and Selby.


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Lumo services will operate between Newcastle and Edinburgh only on Sunday 27 August. Services on Saturday 26 August evening and Monday 28 August early morning are subject to cancellation/amended times.

East Midlands Railway

Trains between Liverpool Lime Street and Norwich will start and finish at Grantham on Sunday 27 August. A replacement bus service will run between Grantham and Norwich, calling at Peterborough. Services on Saturday 26 August evening and Monday 28 August early morning are also subject to amends and replacement buses.

Greater Anglia

Trains between Peterborough and Ely will be replaced by buses on Sunday 27 August. Services on Saturday 26 August evening and Monday 28 August are also subject to amends and replacement buses.


From 20:00 on Saturday 26 August and all day on Sunday 27 August, buses will replace trains between Leicester, Peterborough and Ely.