A full closure to the Bakerloo line and the London Overground over Christmas has allowed Network Rail engineers to condense years of infrastructure upgrades and safety improvements into just a week’s worth of time, saving taxpayer money and enabling passengers to benefit in record time.
Five north London stations – North Wembley, South Kenton, Kenton, Headstone Lane, and Carpenders Park – saw a range of different upgrades including roof repairs, canopy renovations, guttering clearance, platform resurfacing, and the introduction of tactile paving for the benefit of blind and partially sighted people.
The works also included track improvements such as:
- The installation of 6,000 modern concrete sleepers.
- 1.6km of railway drainage upgrades between Harlesden and Kenton to prevent future flooding.
- 10km of new cabling for signals.
- Upgrades to the power supply for Underground and Overground trains.
- Demolition of a derelict, railway-locked electricity substation in danger of collapse.
Network Rail say the track enhancements will increase reliability, whilst the station upgrades will improve the passenger experience.
Network Rail also highlight how the full closure meant the engineers could carry out multiple major, complex projects at the same time, ultimately enabling them to complete years of work in a matter of days.
For example, Network Rail estimate that the sleeper installations would’ve taken around seven or eight years of midweek overnight shifts, whilst the 10km of new signalling cable would’ve taken approximately a decade to complete.
James Dean, Network Rail’s West Coast South route director, said: “We’re really grateful to passengers for their patience while we closed the railway just before Christmas so we could carry out these essential projects.
“It enabled us to bring sections of track right into the 21st century with new equipment which is much more reliable and robust. We were also able to transform five stations making them cleaner and brighter – I hope people enjoy using them much more as a result. Next month we’ll be returning to carry out even more work to improve the Bakerloo line and London Overground for the future.”
From the 11th to the 19th of February the same stretch of track will be closed again for similar infrastructure upgrades to the remaining stations, meaning the Bakerloo line between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone, as well as the London Overground between Euston and Watford junction will be shut.