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Major upgrades on Bakerloo Line and London Overground to impact Harrow

Passengers travelling from Harrow using the Bakerloo Line and London Overground are advised to prepare for essential railway upgrades that will significantly impact their journeys during the upcoming school summer holidays.

Network Rail engineers have announced significant improvements to a 20-mile stretch of railway in north London, scheduled to take place from Sunday, July 23, to Friday, August 25.

The comprehensive upgrades planned for the summer include the installation of 18,000 modern concrete sleepers, replacing wooden ones that date back to the 1950s. Moreover, a 1-kilometre section of railway drainage between Harlesden and Stonebridge Park will be upgraded to prevent future flooding.

Additionally, a substantial 48 kilometres of cabling for signals, serving as traffic lights for trains, will be replaced. Six stations, including Watford High Street, will undergo makeovers, encompassing platform resurfacing and roof canopy maintenance. Furthermore, the power supply for both Underground and Overground trains will be upgraded.

The necessary improvements will affect the Bakerloo line between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone stations, as well as the London Overground between Euston and Watford Junction stations. To accommodate the upgrades, the closures will be implemented in four phases.

Major upgrades on Bakerloo Line and London Overground to impact Harrow Harrow Online
Image: Network Rail

Phase 1: Sunday, July 23 – Sunday, July 30, 2023

  • Bakerloo line closed between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone
  • London Overground closed between Euston and Watford Junction

Phase 2: Monday, July 31 – Thursday, August 10, 2023

  • Bakerloo line closed between Stonebridge Park and Harrow & Wealdstone
  • London Overground closed between Willesden Junction and Watford Junction

Phase 3: Friday, August 11 – Thursday, August 17, 2023

  • Bakerloo line closed between Queen’s Park and Harrow & Wealdstone
  • London Overground closed between Euston and Watford Junction

Phase 4: Friday, August 18 – Friday, August 25, 2023

  • Bakerloo line is fully open
  • London Overground closed between Willesden Junction and Watford Junction

With less than a month remaining until the commencement of the upgrade work, passengers are strongly advised to plan their journeys in advance. They can find more information and updates regarding alternative routes and transportation options on the official websites of National Rail, Transport for London (TfL), or by utilizing the TfL Go app.

The decision to close sections of the Bakerloo line and London Overground for five consecutive weeks aims to enable maintenance teams to undertake multiple complex projects simultaneously. Completing such tasks within this concentrated period is expected to save years of weekend or overnight work. For example, the replacement of sleepers could have taken between seven and eight years of midweek overnight shifts. Similarly, the closure period will condense approximately 10 years’ worth of work for the signal cable replacement, leading to significant time and cost savings for taxpayers.

During the upgrade period, TfL customers affected by the closures can complete their journeys by using alternative rail lines or by utilizing existing or temporary bus routes. Temporary bus routes 718, 719, and 720 will be available, connecting passengers to alternative rail routes, such as the nearby Central, Jubilee, or Metropolitan lines for faster services to and from central London.

These temporary routes will run between Watford Junction and Harrow & Wealdstone, as well as between Harrow & Wealdstone and Stonebridge Park or Queen’s Park. The fares for these temporary bus routes will be the same as standard bus fares, and customers can also benefit from TfL’s Hopper fare, which offers unlimited bus journeys for £1.75 within one hour of touching in.

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 weeks 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: “We’re sorry for the 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.

“These closures 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 this period.”

Passengers are advised to regularly check www.nationalrail.co.uk for further updates on how railway upgrades may impact their journeys.

For more information on the closures, including timings and alternative routes, please visit tfl.gov.uk/bakerloo-overground-overground.

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