Changes to train times


Major improvement works taking place in 2019

Over the coming months, there will be a number of major improvement works taking place across the rail network, including in and around London.

Please find below our detailed overview on the following key railway improvement projects:


 Elizabeth Line

The Elizabeth line will transform travel across London, boosting the economy by billions of pounds and supporting thousands of new jobs and homes. The line, currently being constructed by Crossrail, will be named after the UK's longest serving monarch when it becomes operational. Work on the line is expected to continue throughout 2019.

Stretching over 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow Airport to the west of London across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, the Elizabeth line will stop at 41 accessible stations and serve approximately 200 million people each year.

A fleet of 66 new 200 metre long trains built in the United Kingdom will run on the Elizabeth line, featuring nine walk-through carriages, air conditioning, CCTV, Wi-Fi, 4G connection and live travel information. Each train will be able to carry up to 1,500 people.

The opening of the central section of the Elizabeth line, between London Paddington and Abbey Wood, is currently under review. Crossrail Ltd announced in August 2018 that it expected the Elizabeth line to open through central London in autumn 2019, rather than December 2018. It has now become clear that more work is required than had been envisaged to complete the infrastructure and then commence the extensive testing necessary to ensure the railway opens safely and reliably. Once a robust and deliverable schedule has been established, we will publish the details here.

When the central section of the Elizabeth line opens, the railway will then initially operate as three separate services:

  • London Paddington (Elizabeth line station) to Abbey Wood via central London
  • London Paddington (mainline station) to Heathrow Airport (Terminals 2, 3 and 4)
  • London Liverpool Street (mainline station) to Shenfield


High Speed Two (HS2)

High Speed Two, mostly referred to as simply HS2, is the £56 billion rail network between London, the West Midlands and the North

The first phase (construction from now to 2026) will link London Euston and Birmingham, while the Y-shaped second phase (2026 to 2033) will link Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds. By the time both phases are finished in 2033 there will be 350 miles of new track.

Trains will run on the new lines at speeds of up to 250 mph. Each train will be 400 metres long and will carry up to 1,100 customers. There will be up to 14 trains per hour in each direction.

The first HS2 phase includes a revamp and expansion of London Euston station, there will be a new Old Oak Common station in west London, and two new Birmingham stations at Curzon and Interchange.

At London Euston, HS2 will deliver 11 new platforms in two phases. This will more than double capacity at the station, as well as providing a new concourse and expanded Underground station, linked for the first time to the nearby Euston Square tube station.

Twin 13 mile (21 kilometre) long tunnels, the biggest tunnelling project since Crossrail, will take trains out of London via a new station at Old Oak Common linked to Crossrail.

January 2019 update. HS2 project work at London Euston station has moved forward with the installation of a 66 metre high crane. This is the first of 3 massive cranes that will be erected in the Euston area, and will enable HS2 to start with the demolition of the One Euston Square and Grant Thornton House buildings. Demolition work is expected to take around 10 months to complete, and will dramatically change the Euston skyline.

More details on this work are available here.

Brighton Main Line rail improvement project

Brighton Main Line rail improvement project work will take place between Saturday 16 and Sunday 24 February 2019, and over several weekends until May 2019.

The work is a key part of a £300m government-funded programme to tackle delay hotspots and boost the reliability of the railway in the south east. The work being carried out will cut delays and provide a better, more reliable rail service to the 300,000 passengers who travel on the Brighton Main Line each day.

From Saturday 16 to Sunday 24 February 2019, no trains will run between Three Bridges and Brighton, or between Three Bridges and Lewes.

The unprecedented access provided by these planned closures will allow Network Rail engineers to renew and upgrade a stretch of railway that is responsible for more delays to Southern and Thameslink passengers than any other.

The improvement work will focus on three Victorian-era tunnels – Balcombe, Clayton and Patcham – and the railway which runs through them. A major programme to stem leaks into the tunnels and provide reliable drainage away from the tracks will take place, while the track, third rail power system and signalling will all be replaced or upgraded. Elsewhere, track will be renewed, sets of points, which enable trains to switch between tracks, will be replaced and fencing will be improved to deter trespassers. Without this programme of work, reliability on the Brighton Main Line will deteriorate in the months and years ahead, leading to more delays for passengers travelling between London and the south coast.

The closures have been carefully planned for school half-terms, when passenger numbers are lower and some people may be able to be more flexible with their travel plans or take holiday. Passengers wishing to travel on these dates will need to allow considerably more time for their journeys and should expect to use either diverted trains via longer routes or a replacement bus or coach to connect with rail services.

More information on the Brighton Main Line Improvement Project is available here.

Felixstowe branch line improvements

A £60.4m programme of works is underway to transform the single track branch line to the Port of Felixstowe. This will allow more freight to be transported by rail to and from the port.  A 1.4km track loop will be installed near Trimley station, giving the flexibility needed to run more freight trains as well as improve the reliability of existing passenger services.







The work will support up to 10 additional trains in each direction to move goods to and from the Port of Felixstowe. With each additional freight train taking the equivalent of up to 76 lorries off the roads, the upgrade works will help to reduce congestion and pollution for the local community and the wider region.

In addition to the track re-doubling, a new bridleway bridge is to be built on the site of the existing Gun Lane level crossing. This will provide an alternative safe route across the railway for walkers, horse riders and cyclists to access the countryside.

To allow this work to take place, during most weekends from 18:50 on Saturday and all day on Sunday, trains will be cancelled. A replacement bus service will operate between Ipswich and Felixstowe, calling at all stations.


Details of planned engineering work for approximately the next 12 weeks is available on our Future Engineering Work page.

The Network Rail website is the source of a lot of the above, and it contains some really interesting information on railway improvement works.


Last updated:   16 January 2019