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December upgrades on Bakerloo line and London Overground will save years of future work

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Bakerloo line and London Overground passengers are being advised of essential railway upgrades which will impact journeys in the run up to Christmas.

Between Saturday 17 and Friday 23 December Network Rail engineers will carry out major improvements to a 20-mile stretch of railway in north London.

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 be closed.

The improvements in December will include:

  • 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 five 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

Closing the railway for consecutive days means that maintenance teams can carry out multiple complex projects at once which would otherwise take years of weekend or overnight working.

For instance, the sleeper replacements could have taken between 7-8 years of midweek overnight shifts to get done.

For the 10km signal cable replacement, it’s estimated 10 years of work is being condensed into this seven-day-closure, saving both time and taxpayers’ money.

Between Saturday 17 and Friday 23 December, Transport for London passengers affected by the upgrades can complete their journeys by using alternative rail lines, existing or temporary bus routes.

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.”

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

Image credit: Network Rail

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