Bank Holiday journey times doubled and bus connections for Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough rail travellers heading to London
More disruption on Midland Main Line while £40m station is built
Long-suffering rail passengers planning trips to London from Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough face yet more problems over the Bank Holiday weekend.
All lines to and from the capital will be shut for 72 hours from Friday night forcing (August 27) forcing those unable to find an alternative route to take a half-hour bus connection from Luton to Hitchin in Hertfordshire to catch trains into Kings Cross instead of St Pancras.
Journeys to the capital from Corby will take more than two hours instead of the usual 52 minutes.
Four years of disruption resulting from the Midland Main Line upgrade through Northamptonshire finally ended in May.
Now the issue is work upgrading and reconfigure the track layout and signalling ahead of Network Rail's new £40m Brent Cross West station opening between Hendon and Cricklewood next year.
Gary Walsh, route director for Network Rail’s East Midlands Route, said: “This vital work over the August Bank Holiday will be a major step towards linking the new Brent Cross West station to the Midland Main Line.
“We’re carrying out additional improvements whilst this section of the line is closed to reduce future disruption to services. The slab track at Kentish Town has served the line well and the upgrade is vital so services can continue running reliably.
“As we welcome passengers back to the railway, we’ve worked hard to minimise disruption and keep services moving as much as possible. I’d encourage anyone travelling over the Bank Holiday weekend to check their journey and plan ahead.”
Network Rail will also use the closure to continue upgrading some 50 year old stretches of track at Kentish Town and replacing points towards West Hampstead.
All East Midlands Railway Intercity services will start / terminate at Luton instead of London St Pancras over all three days of the holiday weekend. There will be two Intercity trains per hour between Luton and Sheffield and Nottingham and one train per hour between Luton and Corby.
Coaches service will run every 15 minutes between Luton to Hitchin to connect with trains to and from London Kings Cross.
Passengers heading for Luton Airport will need to use Thameslink services running between Bedford, Luton and Mill Hill Broadway
Passengers are advised to check times on National Rail Enquiries before setting out.
Neil Grabham, customer services director for East Midlands Railway, said: “For any customers who are planning on travelling over the August Bank Holiday weekend, please allow extra time for your journey.
"There are no EMR train services operating between Luton and London St Pancras International and a replacement bus service will be in place.
“We would like to thank passengers for their patience whilst this crucial engineering work takes place.”