Thousands of rail passengers travelling through Peterborough have been promised better journeys after the completion of a £43 million revamp of the station.
Over the course of three days, Network Rail engineers worked intensively to finish an ambitious programme of works.
The overhaul includes a new track layout, longer platforms, station bridges, extensions and lifts and a new signalling system, which monitors and controls the movement of trains through the station area.
Phil Verster, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “I thank all passengers for their patience as we completed this vital work. The new signalling system will help to make journeys more reliable.
“We have also opened a new platform and extended old ones. This will separate trains on the east/west routes from those travelling between the north and south and allow longer trains to stop at the station in the future.
“To complete the work we were unable to run trains through Peterborough on December 27. This was the only time in more than five years when we have closed the main line with no diversion route available.
He added: “This marks completion of the final key stage of the project which will ultimately create a bigger, brighter, better station to cater for the growing number of people who want to travel by rail. It means passengers travelling through Peterborough will have a more reliable journey.”
Rail chiefs say more than four million people use Peterborough station each year.
The upgrade will also ease a key bottleneck on the East Coast Main Line by segregating East Anglia services from East Coast Main Line services and freight services from passenger services. It will allow longer trains to be accommodated on the platforms, allowing for the introduction of Thameslink and Intercity Express Programme trains.
It follows a £3.3 million joint investment by Network Rail and East Coast to create a new entrance canopy, better lighting and new customer information boards.
Later this year, Peterborough City Council is expected to start work on a £4 million scheme to improve the pedestrian access from the station to the Queensgate shopping centre with better crossings over the Bourges Boulevard dual carriageway.