Changes to train times


Major improvement works taking place in 2019 and beyond

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 until late 2020 / early 2021.

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 is expected to 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.

A new plan to complete the outstanding works and bring the Elizabeth line into passenger service at the earliest possible date has been developed. The remaining systems installation in the stations and tunnels will be completed this year. This will allow the new stations and rail infrastructure to be integrated with the rest of the railway. During 2020 testing of the completed railway, including an extensive period of trial running and trial operations, will take place before opening to the public.

Due to the complexity of the remaining work, Crossrail Ltd has identified a six-month delivery window between October 2020 and March 2021 for the start of Elizabeth line services through central London. As the programme to complete and test the railway progresses, Crossrail Ltd will be able to provide increasing certainty about when the Elizabeth line will open.

The central section of the Elizabeth line will open between Paddington and Abbey Wood and link the West End, the City of London, Canary Wharf and southeast London with initially 12 trains per hour. It is expected that all stations on the route will open except for Bond Street, which will not be ready to open until 2021.

Once the central section opens, phased services will be introduced across the entire route, with full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east, commencing as soon as possible. 

High Speed Two (HS2)

High Speed Two, mostly referred to as simply HS2, will be the new 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 225 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.

More details on this work are available here.

London Kings Cross Remodelling Program

As part of an essential East Coast Mainline upgrade, Network Rail are transforming the railway approach to London Kings Cross - which will help deliver more trains to and from the station every day.

The station was modernised in 2012, however, the existing track and signalling layout have not been improved since it's installation 40 years ago.


Due to be completed in 2021; the track, overhead wires and signalling on the approach to London Kings Cross station will be renewed.

In addition, the track is being re-laid in a new layout – improving journeys in and out of London Kings Cross, and a disused tunnel is being reopened allowing for six tracks into the station instead of the current four.

The next planned engineering works are scheduled for Christmas and will affect services on the morning of Friday 27 December.

Going into 2020, there will be numerous weekends of renewal works taking place; as well as two-week spells where two platforms will be unavailable at a time for track renewals. This leads up to a full 50% platform capacity reduction from Christmas 2020 until March 2021.

Barnham and Havant Improvement Works

A nine-day line closure will take place in October/November 2019 affecting the West Coastway on the south coast of England, between Barnham and Havant.

There will also be two subsequent weekend closures. This is to allow Network Rail to replace the tracks and replace life expired equipment at several level crossings with new, more reliable, technology. The work will improve the reliability of rail services on the line, reducing delays for rail passengers.

On the weekdays, from Monday 28 October to Friday 1 November 2019, buses will replace trains between Fareham, Havant and Chichester and journeys will take longer than usual. The closure has been carefully planned for school half-term, when passenger numbers are lower and some people may be able to be more flexible with their travel plans or take a holiday.

On the following weekend dates buses will replace trains between Havant and Barnham:

Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 October
Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 November
Sunday 10 November
Sunday 17 November

Throughout the work there will be no Southern services between Havant and Portsmouth or Southampton. Trains to London will still run from Havant (to London Waterloo via South Western Railway) and Bognor Regis (via Southern). During the weekdays, trains to London will also still run from Chichester (via Southern). 

Taunton and Tiverton Improvement Works

From Saturday 9 November to Thursday 14 November 2019 inclusive, Network Rail is working in various locations between Tiverton Parkway and Castle Cary/Weston-super-Mare. The main focus will be on Cogload Junction (near Taunton) and Whiteball Tunnel (between Tiverton Parkway and Taunton). The improvements will help to make the railway more resilient and reliable, reducing the possibility of delays to your journey.

During this period Great Western Railway will be operating a significantly altered service between Penzance, Exeter, Taunton, and Bristol / Castle Cary / Weston-Super-Mare. Replacement buses will run between Tiverton Parkway, Taunton, and beyond to connect with alternative train services. Trains between Penzance, Plymouth, Exeter and London Paddington will run via Honiton, Yeovil Junction, Castle Cary and Westbury.

CrossCountry services will not run between Tiverton Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads. Replacement buses will provide connections between Tiverton Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads / Bristol Parkway.


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

Last updated:   14 October 2019