Harrow residents can now benefit from the major improvements undertaken before Christmas to the Bakerloo line and London Overground between London Euston and Watford Junction.
During the period, Network Rail engineers worked over seven days in the run-up to Christmas to overhaul track and equipment on a 20-mile stretch of railway whilst upgrading five stations in and near Harrow.
North Wembley, South Kenton, Kenton, Headstone Lane and Carpenders Park saw a combination of roof repairs, canopy renovations, guttering clearance, platform resurfacing and the installation of tactile paving to improve safety for blind and partially sighted people.
Investment on the track itself saw 6,000 modern concrete sleepers installed in place of wooden ones dating back to the 1950s, 1.6km of railway drainage upgrades between Harlesden and Kenton to prevent future flooding and 10km of new cabling for signals – traffic lights for trains.
The works also included upgrades to the power supply for Underground and Overground trains and the demolition of a derelict, railway-locked electricity substation in danger of collapse.
The full closure meant maintenance teams could carry out multiple complex projects at once which would otherwise have taken years of weekend or overnight working.
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.”
Rory O’Neill, TfL’s general manager for London Overground, said: “We would like to thank customers for their patience while Network Rail made these vital infrastructure improvements designed to increase train reliability and customer comfort. Our goal is always to provide our customers with the safest and most reliable service possible, and these Network Rail improvements will help to ensure we can do just that.”
Between Saturday 11 and Sunday 19 February the same stretch of railway will be closed for similar essential improvements to remaining stations, track and line side equipment, including 5,000 more sleepers being replaced.
The scale of the work means the Bakerloo line between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone and the London Overground between Euston and Watford Junction will once again be closed.
Over the nine-day closure, Transport for London passengers affected by the upgrades can complete their journeys by using alternative rail lines, and existing or temporary bus routes.