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  • Watford area renewals programme

    Working closely with train companies and specialist contractors, we're upgrading the infrastructure and signalling around Watford Junction to improve performance on the West Coast main line

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    The West Coast main line is Europe’s busiest freight and passenger railway. At Watford Junction, we're modernising critical junctions and signalling from the 1960s.

  • February 2015 – check before you travel

    The planned closure of the line between Hemel Hempstead and London Euston over two weekends in February has been postponed due to the landslide at Harbury, on the main line between London Marylebone and Birmingham.

    We have rescheduled the planned work so we can keep passengers and freight moving from London and South East to the West Midlands.

    Train companies on the route are currently looking at what services can be reinstated at such short notice so, if you're planning to travel on Saturday 14, Sunday 15, Saturday 21 or Sunday 22 February, you still need to take check before you travel.

    To find out which services are affected or to plan an alternative route visit

    Alternatively, check with your train operator:

    Why are we closing the line?

    Over the past 15 years, the number of trains using the West Coast Main Line has doubled and it's getting busier. Much of the infrastructure around Watford dates from the 1960s and is becoming unreliable - it is a particularly heavily used section with trains running round the clock.

  • What work are we doing?

    We're replacing three critical junctions the north and south of Watford and renewing the signalling system in the area. We're also replacing the track crossovers with track that is easier to maintain, reducing future disruption.

    Fewer delays, better journeys

    We are:

    • Renewing all signalling between Kings Langley and Bushey allowing greater flexibility, and quicker return to a normal service after disruption
    • Installing 11 new gantries and 39 new signalling posts
    • Laying over 15km (9 miles) of new track giving a smoother journey
    • Replacing 21,000 tonnes of ballast and 11,000 sleepers
    • Modifying the overhead line equipment to make it more reliable
    • Reconstructing Orphanage Road bridge at Watford to allow for future line speeds of 125 mph.
  • Advance notice of work

    During these dates the West Coast main line will be closed to all passenger services at Watford.


    • Friday 3 April 2015 to Tuesday 6 April 2015 (Easter weekend)

    The closure will also affect London commuter lines and long distance services to the West Midlands, North West and Scotland.

    Orphanage Road, Watford

    As part of the preparation work to allow for the new bridge to be installed over the Easter bank holiday weekend, Orphanage Road is closed to road traffic for 12 weeks until Friday 17 April. There is limited pedestrian access from 5:30pm until 7am until Monday 23 February. From Monday 23 February, there will be no pedestrian access.

    You can download details of alternative walking routes.

    What has been done to date?

    Over the May and August closures our engineers have:

    • Rebuilt two miles of track, requiring 14,000 tonnes of ballast, 5,900 new sleepers and 4 miles of new rail.
    • Replaced and re-commissioned four sets of new points.
    • Installed a further 11 points which will be commissioned at a later date and removed 8 redundant points.
    • Erected seven new signalling gantries and nine new signalling heads.
  • Watford Junction modernisation image gallery

    Modernisation moves on at Watford Junction

    New ballast goes in in August 2014

    Pressing on with the work over three weekends in August 2014

    All went on schedule during the August 2014 closures

    New track installed in August 2014 to allow for smoother and faster journeys