Network Rail has reached a major milestone on the £1.2bn East Coast upgrade, as all four tracks into King’s Cross have been lifted for the first time in decades to allow sewer reconstruction.
The central London sewer was diverted and rebuilt in just nine days during major Christmas works. As part of the huge project, the way trains enter and exit King's Cross station is being completely revamped - meaning major work on a sewer running beneath the tracks.
A hugely complex engineering challenge meant teams had to remove all four tracks into the station for the first time in 40 years; dig out Camden Sewer from beneath them; divert, rebuild and strengthen the sewer; then relay the tracks in time for passenger services to resume on Monday 4 January.
3,200 litres of water per second passes through the sewer, the equivalent to around 12,800 five-minute showers. Teams also had to remove 850 tonnes of spoil from the sewer as part of the work.
Work was also carried out to install new overhead line equipment, renew some of the tracks around the station and install over 100 new pieces of signalling equipment, which will bring more reliable journeys for passengers.
The Covid-19 pandemic and government guidelines brought changes to the programme of work on the East Coast Upgrade. This complex part of the project was re-planned and completed on time, ready for a reduced service to run from Thursday 31 December and a full service to resume from Monday 4 January.
However, in light of the new national lockdown, both Network Rail and the train operators have stressed that people should continue to follow the latest government guidance by staying at home to help tackle the spread of Covid-19 and only travel if they have to.
Ed Akers, principal programme sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast upgrade, said: “This was an incredible, industry-leading piece of work by Network Rail engineers and our suppliers. Digging out and rebuilding a major sewer would have been a complex engineering challenge at any time, even without all the additional problems of working during the pandemic. But it was delivered without a hitch and without causing any extra disruption for passengers.”