Re-think Of Train Line Closure To London
30 January 2014, 06:00
Heart has learned Network Rail have scrapped a planned SIXTEEN day continuous closure of the main line through Watford Junction later this year.
The rail maintenance and infrastructure firm, based in Milton Keynes, were going to shut the line for more than 2-weeks in August - for new track and signals; but they've now worked out they can do the same work - across five new weekend closures instead.
The £81m scheme was announced last July and had initially warned engineers wanted to shut a 12 mile section of the line through Watford Junction for 16 continuous days in August 2014.
Now, Network Rail said they have undertaken a thorough review of the project and - according a letter send to 'stakeholders', the organisation says "as a result of intense activity, we have identified ways to rationalise the proposed scope and also deliver the essential renewals required.
Though this process we were also able to reduce the number of days the railway will be closed at Watford Junction. This has been made possible by reducing the complexity of the track layout."
Heart been speaking to Milton Keynes MP Iain Stewart who said people had told him they were already working out alternative journies away from Milton Keynes to places like Bedford and taking the train to London when the weekend closure go instead of the total closure.
Watford Mayor Dorothy Thornhill's told Heart: "It's really necessary work, let's be honest we all want the work to go ahead. Network Rail were already looking at reducing the number of days in August. For them now to announce series of weekend closures instead, that's a real shift - and that's to Network Rail's credit."
The closure dates will NOW be:-
- Saturday 3rd May to Monday 5th May (as previously announced)
- Saturday 9th August to Monday 11th August
- Saturday 16th August to Monday 18th August
- Saturday 23rd August to Tuesday 26th August
- Wednesday 24th December to Monday 29th Dcember (as previously announced)
- Saturday 14th February to Monday 16th February
- Saturday 21st February to Monday 23rd February
- Friday 3rd April to Tuesday 7th April (as previously announced)
The works will include:
- All the signals between Kings Langley and Bushey will be renewed
- More than 9 miles of new track will be laid
- Upgrade of the overhead line equipment
- Platform 10 at Watford Junction station will be lengthened
- New lineside fencing to try to stop animals and trespassers getting onto the line and cut cable-theft attempts