Above: Picture of new Class 700 train that will enter service on the Great Northern route early next year
Great Northern is warning passengers that its rail services will be significantly reduced and, in some places, suspended altogether this spring bank holiday weekend as a result of essential rail upgrade work by Network Rail.
Network Rail is working at Hornsey Train Maintenance depot in north London from Saturday 28 May to Monday 30 May as part of Great Northern’s plans to bring new trains into passenger service on the Peterborough and Cambridge to London services early next year. From 2018, these trains, which will be maintained at Hornsey, will also provide direct cross-London services from Peterborough and Cambridge to Thameslink stations south of London, including Gatwick Airport and Brighton.
Great Northern Passenger Service Director Keith Jipps said:
“This bank holiday engineering work by Network Rail is an essential part of the programme to upgrade our railway for the benefit of passengers, now and into the future.
“The new trains we’re introducing are part of the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme. They will replace a large number of our trains that are over 25 years old and offer improved reliability of service and space within the train along with audio and visual customer information systems.
“Over the next three years all our trains on the Great Northern will be either replaced by new and more modern units or undergo major overhauls. This will move us from having one of the oldest fleets in the country, to one of the youngest – a major improvement for passengers.
“From 2018 these trains will give passengers on the main line from Peterborough and Cambridge direct services across central London to London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport and beyond. A Cambridge passenger, for example, will be able to reach Gatwick Airport up to half an hour faster than today without changing trains or travelling on the Underground.”
Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for Network Rail said:
“The investment taking place at Hornsey depot this bank holiday is a crucial piece of our Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers. This work takes us a step closer to being able to support cross-London services, meaning big time savings for passengers as part of the Thameslink Programme.
“While there is never a good time to carry out disruptive work like this, bank holidays are a time when significantly fewer passengers travel and I would like to thank people for their patience while this crucial work is carried out.”
Passengers should use online journey planners at www.nationalrail.co.uk where the following service alterations are also being publicised that affect other East Coast mainline operators:
Great Northern, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May
A significantly reduced London – Cambridge service.
A significantly reduced Peterborough – London service.
Trains will run Stevenage – Gordon Hill on the Hertford Loop with replacement buses running ‘all stations’ Gordon Hill – Alexandra Palace – Turnpike Lane Tube station for the Piccadilly line to and from central London.
Buses will replace trains between Potters Bar and Finsbury Park on the Welwyn route.
There are no trains between Finsbury Park and Moorgate and no services at Hornsey or Harringay.
Virgin Trains East Coast, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May
Southbound services to London King’s Cross will take approximately 40 minutes longer than the usual journey time. Northbound services will start approximately 15 minutes earlier than usual resuming normal times from Stevenage. Other services will terminate at Peterborough, Grantham, Newark North Gate, Retford and Doncaster and return north.
Grand Central and First Hull Trains, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May
Reduced services and some timetable changes.
Great Northern, Bank Holiday Monday 30 May
A revised service will run on all routes with buses between Gordon Hill and Turnpike Lane Tube station (as above).
Welwyn services will run into King’s Cross with no trains between Finsbury Park and Moorgate.
Notes to editors
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Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
Thameslink – services between Bedford and Brighton, Luton/St Albans and Sutton, Wimbledon and Sevenoaks
Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
Gatwick Express – Fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria
GTR is now the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff: GTR carries about 273 million passenger journeys per year, employs around 6,500 people and generates annual passenger revenues of approximately £1.3bn.
The GTR investment programme for stations includes funding for more CCTV, toilet refurbishments, new retail facilities, help points and car park improvements – as well as plans for increased motorcycle storage and improved transport integration.
southernrailway.com, gatwickexpress.com, thameslinkrailway.com greatnorthernrail.com