Passengers in Harrow can now look forward to enhanced travel experiences following significant upgrades to the Bakerloo line and London Overground. This ambitious £29 million investment, carried out over the summer, promises more reliable journeys between London Euston and Watford Junction in the future.
The comprehensive improvement project, undertaken between Sunday, July 23, and Friday, August 25, involved a collaboration between Network Rail and Transport for London (TfL). The project aimed to modernise key elements of the rail network, ensuring a smoother and safer journey for commuters.
Among the notable enhancements are the installation of 18,000 modern concrete sleepers to replace aging wooden ones from the 1950s. These sleepers form a critical part of the track structure, contributing to the overall stability and reliability of the railway.
To address concerns of flooding, 1km of railway drainage between Harlesden and Stonebridge Park was upgraded, reducing the risk of future disruptions due to adverse weather conditions. Additionally, 48km of cabling for signals, which act as the “traffic lights” for trains, was replaced, ensuring seamless communication and smooth operations.
The improvements extended to six stations, including Watford High Street, where a range of upgrades were carried out. These enhancements encompassed platform resurfacing, roof canopy maintenance, and an array of aesthetic improvements.
Notably, stations such as South Kenton, Harlesden, Kensal Green, South Kenton, Headstone Lane, and North Wembley underwent renovations that included tactile paving installation, which enhances safety for individuals with visual impairments.
The extensive upgrade project also tackled the power supply for London Underground and London Overground trains, optimizing performance and contributing to overall service reliability.
The railway line, spanning a 20-mile stretch, underwent a temporary closure for five weeks to facilitate the completion of these ambitious improvements. The closure enabled the simultaneous execution of various complex projects that would have otherwise necessitated prolonged disruptions over weekends and nights.
With the railway now reopened to the public since Saturday, August 26, passengers can enjoy the immediate benefits of this transformational effort. The collaboration between Network Rail and TfL, along with the employment of London Underground equipment, trains, drivers, and resources, has resulted in a highly efficient and impactful project.
James Dean, Network Rail’s West Coast South route director, said: “Thanks again to passengers for their patience while we closed the railway so we could carry out these essential projects and improve future journeys between London Euston and Watford Junction.
“It enabled us to update sections of track with new equipment which is much more reliable so people can travel in confidence. We were also able to safely deliver work at six stations during this closure – which although may not be visually obvious to passengers from platform level – was important to protect the structures from bad weather.”
Rory O’Neill, TfL’s general manager for London Overground, said: “We would like to thank customers again for their continued patience while Network Rail and TfL 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 major improvements will help to ensure we can do just that.”