January/February/March 2020.

The East Coast Main Line (ECML) is a 393-mile long (632 km) major railway link between London and Edinburgh via Peterborough, Doncaster,
Wakefield, Leeds,York, Darlington and Newcastle, electrified along the whole route. Services north of Edinburgh to Aberdeen and Inverness use diesel trains.
 The main franchise on the line is operated by Virgin Trains East Coast.

The route forms a key artery on the eastern side of Great Britain and is broadly paralleled by the A1Trunk Road. It links London, the South East and
 East Anglia, with Yorkshire, the North East Regions and Scotland. It also carries key commuter flows for the north side of London.

 It is important to the economic health of several areas of England and Scotland.

 It also handles cross-country, commuter and local passenger services, and carries heavy tonnages of freight traffic.

 Roger Carvell is a rail enthusiast who contributes much of the local content to this website. He now lives in Biggleswade, near the ECML, but 
on this page he reports on news and movements on this historic line, close to his home and heart.



January 26th 2020.

  A few work site photos at King’s Cross on Saturday, work that brought no less than six GBRf Class 66s into the terminus at 14.00.
 Engineers are renewing signals, trackwork and overhead line equipment while the old 1980s power signalbox was having its ECML responsibilities moved to
 York Regional Operating Centre (ROC).

 In one of the disused Gasworks Tunnel portals (abandoned in the last major work in 1976) new track and ohl was being installed to allow more
 flexibility of access to the east side of King’s Cross station.
 Engineers can be seen below drilling into the roof (the Grand Union Canal is just above!) to install ohl.

 King’s Cross station was declared a NR work site with no public access.

 The photos below appear via Twitter.


The ECML remains completely shut from Peterborough to London King’s Cross.
 Only Hull Trains, using their Class 180s, still run all the way to the capital, diverted via the Midland Main Line to St Pancras International.
 More locally, buses take passengers from Stevenage and Hitchin to Luton Parkway, and from St Neots, further north, to Bedford.
 Buses connecting with Thameslink trains to St Pancras. Not a great weekend to travel!
 LNER services start and finish at Peterborough, again with connecting bus and coach replacement services to the MML.

 NR and contractors have enough on their plates! All work had  got to be signed off in the early hours of Monday.

Much work goes on elsewhere on this part of the ECML. Coming home last night, I saw this huge track machine on its low loader, parked
 up outside the village store, here in Langford.

 Trackwork are based in Doncaster, and I think the hgv driver was having problems getting access to the ECML, due to parked cars in the road leading to the
 level crossing where another machine was already at work nearby, at 00.15hrs.

Outside the shop! Mighty machinery awaiting its task.

Bus timetable at Hitchin for passenger information, warning of the above engineering works effecting train services, is shown below.


January 24th 2020.

Damage to the overhead electric wires between Hitchin and Peterborough is causing disruption out of Peterborough this evening.

Trains are subject to cancellation, delay or revision.

Delays are expected until 19:00.

Disruption is expected on Grand Central, Great Northern, Hull Trains, LNER and Thameslink services.

This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is available.

Passenger Advice
Great Northern and Thameslink
Trains operating between Hitchin and Peterborough will be affected as below:

XX:20 departures from Hitchin to Peterborough will run express between Hitchin and St Neots.
If you need any stations in between, speak to station staff
Alternatively, XX:50 departures will run as normal.
Passengers may also travel to St Neots and then board a London service for intermediate stations.

Network Rail colleagues are on site and will be assessing the extent of the damage.


January 25th 2020.

Luckily things had calmed down when I went home from Hitchin tonight. Today, no trains at all, once more, not even diverts via fenland which will disappoint the photters over there.
Some trains are diverted to St Pancras International, Lots of buses about though!
One thing I did find out. King’s Cross signalbox is being shut down and control moves to York. Must be the first London terminus to be signalled from the north of England!


January 22nd 2020.

Below is today's (22.01.20) Trans Pennine Express delivery. It started early at Eastleigh at 07.08, came up the South Western via Basingstoke
and then to Reading, Great Western, and arrived at Acton Main Line at 12.47, and a few mins later (crew change?) it gained the North London
Line and then over to the East Coast Line, joining at Harringay.

Here is 802207, under its own 'steam', passing the handy background leylandi at Langford, south of Biggleswade, 15.03hrs in very gloomy conditions.
Arrival at Doncaster Carr IEP depot was 18.44, two minutes early. The blanked out windows in the first coach are part of the buffet area.


January 17th 2020.

The gradual fleet change over, on LNER, continues. Two more Class 91s are earmarked for withdrawal at the end of January.
 91104 survived a minor works visit to Doncaster and was back at work today, along with threatened 91116.
 Both were on early King’s Cross to Edinburgh turns today so won’t be back till after dark, so no photo opportunities!


Here is another Azuma delivery, on Monday January 13th 2020.

That was an Eastleigh Works to Doncaster Carr depot via Acton Main Line. Another all-electric 801 is awaiting delivery in the wake of this 801.


January 15th 2020.

There was a spot of early morning bother at Hitchin yesterday (14/01/2020), which disrupted London-bound trains for about three hours.
 The first of the year’s Acton Yard to Hitchin stone trains, operated by Freightliner was  slowly pulling into the stone siding behind the station at
 about 06.00 when two of the bogie JNA wagons at the rear came off the road and fell into the soft.
 One set of wheels cut through a signal or switch cable, off to the left. All up slow signals went to red! Delays to Thameslink trains, no doubt backing
 up, full of getting frustrated commuters from Cambridge and Peterborough.
 It a couple of hours to fix the cabling and ‘normal’ service resumed at 10.00.

 This is the scene, below, at 16.00.
 The late turn gang have turned up from, well, could be anywhere, to prepare the bogies for packing and jacking.
 Why the two JNAs came off is still not known. They will be there for some time, hopefully out of the way of the next stone delivery, which originates from Somerset.



January 13th 2020.

In the gathering storm clouds today, a very dirty Class 66 dragged another brand new all electric LNER Class 801 to Doncaster from Eastleigh Works.

 There it will be ‘bolt tightened’, tick boxed for acceptance, and sent out on mileage accumulation.

Two more Class 91s are scheduled to be withdrawn at the end of this month.

 91104 which is one, is already stopped for minor repairs at Doncaster Works.

 Will it come back? Nobody knows, least of all, LNER staff!


January 12th 2020.

The ECML is silent! Complete engineering block on between Hitchin and Peterborough. Track possessions in force over 50 miles.
 Phew! All inter city trains are diverted via Cambridge and Ely. Locals like me have to use a half-hourly coach service. It will be like this every weekend in January.

Here are some photos below so far, from me and pal Mike Trigg.

Mike took his grandson up to Cadwell footbridge to see no less than three engineering trains lined up below!

The two photos below show ro-rail vehicles on drainage work near me at Langford.

Yesterday’s coaches at Hitchin. The one furthest from camera was hired from Newcastle, rail operators scour the country for coaches!

Peterborough, Saturday via Twitter. A UNO bus from far off Hatfield!


January 1st 2020.

 The 07.00 Greater Anglia Norwich Crown Point depot to LNER Bounds Green facility, (for tyre turning).
 The Greater Anglia Mk3 coach sets are used on the fast, half-hourly interval Norwich to Liverpool St services, Class 90 - hauled.

 DRS’s 37402 and 37424, below,  head through a deserted and cold Baldock station on the Hitchin to Cambridge branch. Baldock is primarily served by Thameslink services to
 and from Cambridge to Brighton or King’s Cross.

 The station is only part time staffed. A platform cleaner arrives by timetabled train, brushes the platforms and then boards a
 following train and repeats the process at every station towards Cambridge. Jan 1st, 2020.

Norwich Crown Point is full of brand new Stadler emus at present, which require prepping and testing before use, a process that had caused great difficulties for
GA, with the new trains failing to activate level crossings on rural branches.
 The Mk3s are sent to LNER at Bounds Green, who now partly maintain the GA Mk3 fleet. It takes the maintenance pressure off Norwich Crown Point.