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£81m reliability upgrade to Watford line

Network Rail has announced improvements to the West Coast Main Line around Watford to improve punctuality and reliability.

The £81m scheme will take place over five closures throughout 2014 to avoid closing the line completely over 54 weekends.

Work will include renewing three junctions around the station to improve the track layout and increase reliability, as well as renewal of nine miles of track, upgraded overhead line equipment, 12 miles of signalling renewed and an upgrade to the signalling power supply system.

Dyan Crowther, Network Rail route managing director, said: “This scheme represents significant investment in the southern end of the West Coast Main Line to improve punctuality and make the railway more reliable.

“This line has seen tremendous growth in traffic and passengers over the last five years with the section at Watford being one of the most intensively used, high-speed sections of track in the UK. This work is absolutely essential to maintain the punctuality that passengers and our freight customers rightly expect.

“There is never a good time to carry out major work on such a busy route. However, after careful discussion with the train operators and industry partners, it became apparent that carrying out this vital investment over five longer closures between May 2014 and Easter 2015 when fewer people travel would, overall, cause less disruption.”

During the project, the signalling at Watford will be upgraded alongside new junctions and track to provide more flexibility for train services and better reliability.

Patrick Verwer, London Midland managing director, added: “We want our customers to have good journeys with minimum disruption. This is much needed investment and a series of closures is the quickest way of bringing the benefits of this major upgrade to our passengers. It gives certainty and allows us to plan good quality alternative travel arrangements.”

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SMC   02/08/2013 at 19:16

One can only hope that when this is carried out that the Watford -Croxley link is taken into consideration, and we don't see even more disruption , and I believe a lot is planned anyway, be nice to know if the work is anticipated and integrated?

Nonsuchmike   03/08/2013 at 19:04

There will always be these multimillion pound "patches" to upgrade bits of the WCML (and ECML) because of the inherent refusal to commit to more/new/relaid rail lines infrastructure, thus always putting inordinate strains on existing and future capacity across the country, both north and south. You would think that those in authority should have twigged this 20 years ago, wouldn't you?

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