London Overground train at London Euston station, via Network Rail

‘Tis the season for vital London rail upgrades

Passengers along the Bakerloo line and London Overground are being advised to brace for festive disruptions to journeys as essential railway upgrades will be conducted throughout the lead up to Christmas.

The incumbent engineering works are currently scheduled to take place between Saturday 17th and Friday 23rd December, with Network Rail responsible for the infrastructural project’s delivery.

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

“We’re sorry for any disruption that Network Rail’s essential track renewal work will cause to our customers’ journeys and are working closely with them to minimise the impact. Closures of this type enable work to be carried out which will make customer journeys more reliable in future and are scheduled to take place, where possible, in school holidays when demand on our network is significantly reduced.

“This closure will also be used to carry out improvement works at the stations that are temporarily closed. We advise our customers to use TfL’s Journey Planner or the TfL Go app to plan their journeys in advance during these essential closures.”

These works will be improving the railway across a 20-mile stretch of line throughout North London, delivering major innovative improvements, involving:

  • Installing 6,000 modern concrete sleepers in place of wooden ones dating back to the 1950s
  • Upgrading 1.6km of railway drainage between Harlesden and Kenton to prevent future flooding
  • Replacing 10km of cabling for signals – traffic lights for trains
  • Improvements to 5 stations north of Queen’s Park*
  • Station makeovers will include platform resurfacing and roof canopy maintenance
  • Upgrading the power supply for Underground and Overground trains
  • Demolition of a derelict, railway-locked electricity substation in danger of collapse

The sheer scale of this project will require the Bakerloo line between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone and the London Overground between Euston and Watford Junction to closed for its duration.

 This closure during consecutive days is necessary for the engineering teams to conduct a plethora of complex procedures concurrently, which would otherwise take years of weekend or overnight working. The 10km signal cable replacement, for example, would be estimated to require 10 years of intermittent workloads, as opposed to this condensed seven-day span.

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

 “We know there’s never an ideal time to close the railway, so I’d like to thank passengers for their understanding in advance while we carry out these significant improvements to the Bakerloo line and London Overground.

“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.”

Next year, the same stretch of railway will be closed for more essential improvements to more stations, track and line side equipment between Saturday 11th and Sunday 19th February.

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