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  • Watford area renewals programme

    Working 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.

  • Easter 2015 – check before you travel

    The railway between Hemel Hempstead and London Euston will be closed between Good Friday 3 April and Easter Monday 6 April to allow Orphanage Road bridge at Watford to be replaced. In addition, engineers will renew track and overhead lines in the Watford area and carry out essential repair work to one of two of the Watford tunnels, to the north of the station.

    What does this mean for passengers?

    Passengers will face longer, interrupted journeys and will be routed away from the West Coast main line.

    • Passengers from the West Midlands will be routed via Birmingham Moor Street on the Chiltern Route
    • Passengers from North Wales, Chester and Merseyside will be routed via Crewe, Manchester or Nuneaton to join East Midland Trains services
    • Passengers from Cumbria, Lancashire, Manchester and the Lake District will need to travel via Manchester and on to Sheffield for East Midlands Trains services
    • Passengers from Scotland will need to travel on East Coast services via Edinburgh

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

    Advance notice of work

    West Coast main line: Easter weekend closure

    Over the Easter weekend, Friday 3 April to Tuesday 7 April 2015, the West Coast main line will be closed to all passenger services at Watford.

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

    Orphanage Road, Watford

    Orphanage Road is closed to road traffic for 12 weeks until Friday 17 April.

    From Monday 23 February, there will be no pedestrian access. You can download details of alternative walking routes.

    The closure is to allow preparation for the installation of the new bridge over the Easter weekend.

    Why are we doing this work?

    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 to give more flexibility and a quicker return to normal service after disruption.
    • Installing 11 new gantries and 39 new signal posts.
    • Laying over 9 miles of new track, giving you a smoother journey.
    • Replacing 21,000 tonnes of ballast and 11,000 sleepers.
    • Modifying the overhead power lines to increase reliability.
    • Reconstructing Orphanage Road bridge at Watford to allow line speeds of 125 mph.
  • What has been done to date?

    Over the May and August 2014 closures our engineers:

    • 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