SIGNIFICANT travel disruption is expected as improvement works are to be carried out across the East Coast Main Line in August.

For the first time in two decades, the East Coast Main Line between London and Newark will be closed to allow Network Rail carry out a number of improvements, including the partial transfer of signalling control to the region.

As part of the improvements, control of the East Coast Main Line's London section will transfer to the York Rail Operating Centre as part of the line's planned closures on Saturday, August 24 and Sunday, August 25.

During the weekend of engineering works, Network Rail said customers should expect significant disruption to services across the route.

Customers have also been urged not to travel on rail services, which are scheduled to start or end at London King’s Cross.

Ed Akers of Network Rail said: “We are urging passengers not to travel as there will be significant disruption.

“However if they absolutely must travel we would urge them to plan ahead as services will be extremely busy, you will need to change trains or use a bus replacement service and your journey will take longer.

“We appreciate that this will impact on people.

“However this work is absolutely to vital to make sure we continue to provide a railway which is fit for purpose and this upgrade will bring significant benefits to passengers once completed.”

Network Rail said the signalling transfer from London to York was part of the first phase in plans to transfer the majority of the line's signal control to the city.

The body said moving signal control to the facility would mean more reliable journeys, as signallers see a greater overview of the route under one roof.

An LNER spokeswoman said: “Our new Azuma trains will be introduced to the North East from next month, and with new trains we need new infrastructure.

"The East Coast Upgrade will unlock the full journey benefits of the fleet – delivering more trains and quicker journeys across our entire route.

“We are working closely with Network Rail and the other operators to ensure that our customers are inconvenienced as little as possible throughout this key route upgrade.

“LNER customers are strongly advised not to travel to or from London on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August; and we recommend that they travel Friday or Tuesday, booking a reservation to guarantee a seat, where possible.”