Once-in-a-generation improvement scheme completed at London King's Cross station

The plaque unveiling at London King's Cross following the completion of an upgrade at the station.

The plaque unveiling at London King's Cross following the completion of an upgrade at the station. - Credit: Network Rail

A multi-million pound improvement scheme to upgrade London King's Cross station has been completed.

Designed to radically improve services for rail passengers heading in and out of London, the project – dubbed 'King’s Uncrossed’ – involved the replacement of the over 40-year-old tracks and track layout on the 1.5-mile approach into the station.

Work to transform tracks at London King's Cross station.

Work to transform tracks at London King's Cross station. - Credit: Network Rail

As part of the £1.2 billion East Coast Upgrade, it also saw the reopening of a disused tunnel after 44 years to add two additional lines into the terminus from the north.

The complex and challenging programme has seen the replacement of:

  • Over 6km of new track.
  • Over 30 new sets of points.
  • Over 50 new signals.
  • Over 20km of new overhead wires.
Trains on the new platforms at London King's Cross station.

Trains on the new platforms at London King's Cross station. - Credit: Network Rail

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.”

King's Cross station was over the weekend to complete the once-in-a-generation scheme. 

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Rob McIntosh, managing director for Network Rail's Eastern region, said: “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.

“Finally, I want to say a big thank you to our passengers for their patience and understanding, especially during those periods when it was necessary to close the station or reduce services.”

The revamp allows more trains to enter and exit the station, thereby reducing congestion and bringing more reliable journeys for passengers.

Thameslink and Great Northern managing director Tom Moran, co-chair of the delivery board, said: “I am delighted that passengers can now reap the benefits of this massive upgrade several months earlier than originally planned.

"The rail industry has worked together to complete these works during the national lockdown when fewer passengers were travelling and, as a result, King’s Cross will now be fully open just as we welcome more and more customers back to rail.”

At the same time as the King’s Cross project, Network Rail engineers have been continuing work on a new tunnel and 1.9 miles of new line at Werrington, north of Peterborough, so 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 faster, quieter and more environmentally friendly electric trains to run.