Three weekends of rail disruption coming, as York line is upgraded

York Railway Station from the air. Photograph: Gavin Aitchison
17 Nov 2020 @ 11.26 am
| Transport

Rail travellers are being warned that three weekends of disruption are coming as a key line from York is upgraded.

The affected weekends will see big changes to services, as work to improve reliability and capacity between Poppleton and Knaresborough, which is on the line between York and Leeds, takes place.

The £9.8million project will modernise a signalling system based on the one from Victorian times.

These are the planned changes:

  • Sunday, 22 November – Northern services are replaced with road transport between Horsforth and York. LNER services between London King’s Cross and Harrogate will start or terminate at Leeds. 
  • Saturday, 28 November and Sunday, 29 November – Northern services between Knaresborough and York are replaced by bus services on Saturday, 28, and between Horsforth and York on Sunday, 29.
  • Saturday, 5 December and Sunday, 6 December – The line between Horsforth and York will be closed from 11.30pm on Saturday, 5 with bus replacement services in place. On Sunday, 6 Northern services will be replaced by buses between Horsforth and Harrogate/York. LNER services will start or terminate at Leeds

What’s changing

York Station from the Rail Operating Centre webcam, showing both Mallard and the new Azuma. Photograph: Network Rail

At the moment the line uses token signalling – a system where a train driver must physically pass an object, known as a token, to a signaller before the train can move forward.

This will be removed in the modernisation, Network Rail says.

There will also be changes to the track layout at Cattal railway station, allowing trains to travel through the area at 40mph, up from the current speed of 20mph, enabling two trains to arrive in the station at the same time.  

Finally, work to install new safety measures at some level crossings on the routes will also take place. This work is to maintain safety once more trains begin running on the route.

This weekend, Network Rail will also continue work to install a specialist piece of equipment at Harrogate railway station, which will allow trains to move from one piece of track to another. This will help to reduce congestion at the station and provide an improved service for passengers.

The upgrade is being funded by North Yorkshire County Council and the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, with Network Rail carrying out the work.