STOPPING services between London and Edinburgh on the East Coast train line during the finale weekend of the Scottish capital's festivals would be a "total disaster", organisers have warned.

Network Rail is currently planning to stop all services going north from King's Cross on August 24 and 25, which is also a Bank Holiday weekend, for works.

Passengers have been urged to completely avoid travelling from London to Edinburgh on those days.

Bosses at the International Festival, Fringe, Tattoo and Book Festival events have urged Network Rail to rethink the dates of the track and signalling lay-out improvements outside King's Cross station.

Despite this, the rail infrastructure manager has said it will not move the works to another time.

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A leaked letter – seen by The Scotsman – sent from the festivals to Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, states: “The Edinburgh festivals are a focus point for the UK’s cultural sector in August.

“The closing weekend is the finale of a month long showcase of performing arts and literature from every part of the UK and the world, and is also the closing weekend of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

“The scale and impact of the Edinburgh festivals as an annual expo for the UK is enormous. And with over three million tickets being issued during August – there are the many thousands who travel from London and other parts of England for the Bank Holiday weekend to visit the festivals and see shows.

“The proposed disruption to the train service will have a massively detrimental effect on our business and yours. It is well documented that what happens in Edinburgh every August is on a scale equivalent to the FIFA World Cup or the Olympic Games.

“It would be unthinkable to propose such disruption to transport services for either of these events.

“It cannot be acceptable for Network Rail to set a timescale that will be totally disastrous for the Edinburgh festivals.”

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But Haines said passengers could travel to the festivals from London Euston on the West Coast route, or alternatively travel from Manchester and Peterborough.

He said Network Rail had "planned our works as considerately as we can".

“We are carrying out four pieces of work in August and clustering them together to try and impact as few people as possible," he continued.

“We’ve not closed the East Coast Main Line in this way for more than 20 years and it is overdue an upgrade.”