Trains travelling from Newcastle to the capital are set to terminate more than an hour away from their destination next year, due to a major upgrade of London King's Cross Station.
Essential engineering works in 2019 and 2020 could see the station closed for whole weekends, with trains forced to terminate at Peterbrough instead.
Travellers on services from Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Darlington and Morpeth would be affected.
Major travel disruption
Closures for the remodelling work at King's Cross will begin in March and continue in June, August and October on selected weekends, with partial closures between Christmas 2019 and spring 2020.
Individual platforms will also be shut off at other times, as part of the mammoth project to cut journey times and increase the number of long-distance trains.
During each closure, some or all of the services run by London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and other operators, such as Govia Thameslink, will need to terminate at alternative stations.
East Coast Main Line passengers will likely be offered replacement bus travel from Peterborough into London as a result of the works.
Specific dates for the closures have yet to be agreed with Network Rail.
The remodelling will increase the future capacity of the station, but the works will also coincide with the introduction of state-of-the-art Azuma trains on the government-run London North Eastern Railway franchise.
Network Rail, which is responsible for the nation’s rail infrastructure, has pledged to minimise disruption to travellers, but said some parts of the station will need to close for a short period.
Rob McIntosh, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “Earlier this year the Prime Minister announced significant investment for the East Coast Main Line and our plans at King’s Cross are integral to the benefits this investment will bring for passengers.
“The track layout and signalling at King’s Cross is approaching the end of its design life and restricts the number of trains that we can run in and out of the station.
“We are in the early stages of delivering a project that will increase the number of long distance trains at King’s Cross and facilitate future improvements to journey times.
“We cannot deliver around £250m investment in a confined space such as King’s Cross without some planned disruption.
"We will make sure passengers have good notice of any service changes to plan their journeys.
“We are also acutely aware of the difficulties passengers have faced across all of our network this year and therefore looking again at the timing and nature of the planned disruption to ensure that the passenger experience is forefront in our decision making.”