The government’s temporary relaxation of travel restrictions will see changes to the major rail works planned over the festive period, with more trains running on Christmas Eve.

Work on the £1.2 billion East Coast Upgrade will close London King’s Cross for six days between Christmas Day and Wednesday, December 30.

There will also be a reduced service from Thursday, December 31 to Sunday, January 3.

With the national coronavirus-related restrictions due to be lifted between Saturday, December 23 and Wednesday, December 27, the start of the work has been pushed back a day.

A Network Rail spokesman said it was responding to “more unpredicatble demand” by laying on more services than planned, “adding more contingency” and adjusting the engineering programme. 

“On the East Coast Upgrade, Network Rail has reduced the amount of work which will take place on Christmas Eve to enable a near normal service for the time of year to run,” he added.

Services on Christmas Eve are expected to be very busy and passengers are being advised to plan their journey. 

Ed Akers, principal programme sponsor for Network Rail’s East Coast Upgrade, said: “We understand this Christmas is particularly special after what has been a difficult year and that people want to spend time with their families if they can. 

“We’re asking people who do decide to travel to consider their journey, plan and book ahead if they can and be considerate of fellow passengers.”