London Overground track and equipment upgrades December 2022, via Network Rail

Major upgrades set to transform the Bakerloo line and London Overground

The Bakerloo line and London Overground are set to receive major upgrades to a 17-mile stretch of railway, set to transform the passenger experience through improved journey times and reliability.

Engineers will be conducting these works between Saturday 11 and Sunday 19 February, with the sheer size and scale of the project meaning that passengers will experience disruption to services throughout the period. The Bakerloo line between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone and the London Overground between Euston and Watford Junction will be closed for nine days as a result.

The package of improvements in February will include:

  • Installing 7,000 modern concrete sleepers in place of wooden ones dating back to the 1950s.
  • Replacing 28km of cabling for signals – traffic lights for trains.
  • Structural improvements to five stations* including platform resurfacing and roof canopy maintenance.
  • Renewing the track at Willesden and Queen’s Park.
  • Upgrading the power supply for London Underground and Overground trains.
  • Carrying out signal maintenance at Watford Junction.

The works are following the successful completion of similar upgrades that took place on another 17-mile stretch of the same line this recent December.

Works will come as a collaborative effort from Network Rail and Transport for London, seeing engineers supported throughout the process with London Underground equipment, trains, drivers, and resources. Through this effort, the entire project will see a reduced delivery time, accompanied by notable savings on taxpayer money.

James Dean, Network Rail’s West Coast South route director, said:

“The previous partnership working shows how the rail industry is committed to improving rail journeys for passengers. Once again, we’re returning to overhaul equipment on the Bakerloo Line and London Underground with that shared goal our total focus.

“I appreciate that doing this essential work over consecutive days will be disruptive for passengers so I’d urge people to keep in mind the line between Euston and Watford will be closed and to check National Rail Enquiries and TfL for alternative public transport options in and out of the capital.”

Geoff Hobbs, director of public transport service planning for TfL, said:

“Work is continuing on essential track renewal that will help ensure our customers’ journeys are more reliable in the future.  Network Rail and Transport for London continue to work collaboratively on these improvements to ensure they can be delivered as quickly as possible and helping minimise the impact for our customers.”

The railway closure, whilst being disruptive for passenger journeys, will allow the engineering teams to conduct a plethora of projects concurrently, which would have otherwise taken years of staggered weekend or overnight working.

It is estimated that the sleeper replacements alone would have taken up to 7-8 years of midweek and overnight shifts to complete. The 28km signal cable replacements have also seen major reductions in delivery, condensing five years’ worth of work into a seven-day-closure.

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