Major upgrades to the West Coast main line are due to be carried out during peak tourist times next year.

Network Rail has announced that work to the line and at London Euston will take place in spring and summer 2021 as part of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan and HS2 Phase One. They say it will make passengers’ journeys more reliable and ease pressure on the West Coast main line, by adding more railway capacity.

However, the timing of the work is set for April 2 to May 17 and July 17 to August 31, with weekend work also taking place between April and the end of August.

Other rail upgrades are planned over the Easter, early May, Spring and August bank holiday weekends, which in 2021 fall on: April 2 to 5 - Easter bank holiday; May 1 to 3 - early May bank holiday; late May bank holiday May 29 to 31; Summer bank holiday August 28 to 30.

Tourism and economy experts say the timing of the works could not have come at a worse time for businesses.

Managing director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, said: “Cumbria is a world class destination and it’s important we have world class transport system to match.

“However, whilst we recognise that this requires investment in infrastructure the timings for these works will impact incredibly negatively on the county’s tourism businesses, including transport providers, just as they are all seeking to rebuild after a devastating year for the industry. We are all desperate for an unhindered year in 2021 and the opportunity to rebuild.

“With an anticipated staycation boom in 2021, a growth this year in visitors from the south of the country, it is essential we encourage and make it as easy as possible for people to visit using sustainable transport. “We will be contacting Network Rail to make them aware of our concerns and to seek their support to minimise the effect on the valuable visitor economies along the line.”

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce chief executive Rob Johnston said: “It’s clearly a major infrastructure project and it needs upgraded for quality of service. It’s good they are giving us advance warning, this is essential work we need going forward, but it’s disappointing this is going to happen at a time when the Cumbria economy is opening up and visitors are coming to Cumbria.

“I hope they will work with us nearer the time to see what services are available to people.”

Travel plans will be disrupted for two six-week periods to enable the new HS2 terminus to be built. Two lines into Euston station will be taken out of service.

Most train services will continue running while this work takes place, but there will be some timetable and platform alterations.

Network Rail say that the work has been announced early to give passengers plenty of notice so they can make informed choices when travelling over spring/summer.

Major track renewal work will take place between Rugby to Birmingham, Crewe to Warrington, Preston to Lancaster and Carstairs to Carlisle

Further Bletchley flyover work will also be done as part of the East-West Rail project.

This means stations and trains between Euston and Scotland may be busier, services will change, journeys may take longer and in some instances buses will replace trains.

James Dean, Network Rail’s West Coast South route director, said: “Our work will make the West Coast main line more reliable for our passengers and pave the way for HS2, which will bring much-needed extra railway capacity.

“There is no question such large scale improvements will mean changes for passengers, but we’re working with the industry to minimise disruption to passengers as much as possible next year.

“We’re letting people know many months in advance so none of this comes as a surprise and passengers can stay on the move while we do this vital work.”

Patrick Cawley, director of On Network Works for HS2 Ltd and Network Rail said: “Investing in HS2 will create additional rail capacity across the existing UK network, providing more local, regional and intercity services. Although some disruption to the current rail service is unavoidable in the short term, in preparation for this we have completed other service upgrades to minimise impact, such as increasing platform lengths at busy stations on the West Coast main line.”

The rail industry has worked closely to combine the Euston work and other West Coast rail upgrades as much as possible to minimise disruption to passengers.

Passengers can find out more information at