The East Coast Main Line

The East Coast Main Line

The East Coast Main Line, also known as the ECML is a trunk route that originates at Waverley station in Edinburgh. It follows the scenic east English coast through Berwick, Newcastle, Durham, Darlington, York, Doncaster, Retford, Grantham, Peterborough and Cambridge. It terminates at Kings Cross station in London. The ECML has an extension that runs North of Edinburgh up to Aberdeen and Inverness in Highland Scotland. But that part of the route is not classed as part of the ECML but under the Scottish ECML which is something different entirely.

The electrified line runs parallel to the A1 Motorway and is an important travel connection for millions of people across England. The route hosts 17 different freight and passenger operators, some of which include LNER, Cross Country, DB Cargo UK and GB Railfreight. The track gauge is standard gauge [4ft 8 ½ inches] with a maximum operating speed of 125 MPH [201 KPH]. The depots on the line are Horsey Depot, Bounds Green TMD, Neville Hill T&RSMD, Heaton T&RSMD, Cragentinny T&RSMD and Haymarket Depot.

Image: Lewis Kane,

The route is formed of quadruple track from London to Stoke tunnel, south of Grantham. North of Grantham the line is double track except for areas around large stations such as Doncaster, York and Newcastle. The route is 393 miles long with 51 stations making it the second largest railway line in the UK, losing out to the West Coast Main line [with 399 miles] by 6 miles. 

The curve at Morpeth station is the sharpest curve on any UK mainline meaning it has played host to a number of railway crashes and derailments over the years. Such as an incident that took place on the 7th of May 1969, where 6 people were killed and 21 were injured. This was due to the driver getting distracted and speeding on the 98 degree bend.

Last Updated on December 19, 2021 by Lewis


Hello my name is lewis and I am the editor of LWrail train magazine. I manage the LWrail social media, YouTube channel and write most of the stories on this website.

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