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Digital signalling and train control is coming to Great Northern's the Moorgate line - picture by Network Rail
Digital signalling and train control is coming to Great Northern's the Moorgate line - picture by Network Rail

Press release -

Weekend service changes on Northern City Line as major project to create UK’s first intercity digital railway continues

Great Northern passengers on the Northern City Line, one of the most important routes into the City of London, will enjoy more reliable journeys by summer next year.

The reliability boost will come from work to upgrade track and signalling on the route, in a key stage of the East Coast Digital Programme, which will create the first intercity digital railway in the UK, fitting trains with the latest in-cab signalling technology and removing the old lineside signals.

This will mean that signallers will be able to communicate with trains continuously rather than only at fixed signal points, responding in real time, which will benefit passengers by reducing delays and significantly improving performance.

However, to carry out this vital work, there will be some temporary service changes for passengers. There will be six weekends of track closures between Finsbury Park and Moorgate this summer as Network Rail teams work to install new equipment. These closures will be in place on the following dates:

  • Saturday, 19 and Sunday, 20 June
  • Saturday, 26 and Sunday, 27 June
  • Saturday, 10 and Sunday, 11 July
  • Saturday, 7 and Sunday, 8 August
  • Saturday, 28, Sunday, 29 and Monday, 30 August
  • Saturday, 4 September and Sunday, 5 September

During these closures, trains will be diverted into King's Cross station. Passengers who need to travel during this time are advised to plan ahead via National Rail Enquiries or via 

There may be further dates when work is required and Great Northern and Network Rail will keep passengers informed of any additional impact on services. 

Passengers are also reminded that they should continue to follow Government guidance around the use of public transport.

Toufic Machnouk, Programme Director for East Coast Digital Programme, said: “The East Coast Digital Programme is fundamental to improving reliability on the Northern City Line and the work taking place this summer is vital to keep the programme on track.

“The work does mean some changes to services, so I’d like to remind all passengers travelling on these routes to check before travelling via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator. I’d also like to thank passengers for their patience whilst this vital work takes place.”

Jenny Saunders, Customer Services Director for Great Northern and Thameslink, said: “I apologise to those customers who will be affected by these weekend closures.

“However, I'm sure passengers using our services to and from Moorgate in to the City of London will really welcome the improvement in reliability this work will bring.

“The future benefits of digital train control to both the main line and our Hertford loop customers, will also be significant.”

Full travel information will be available at National Rail Enquiries and Great Northern.




For more information, contact the press office on 0203 750 2031.

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London 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

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