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3 April 2015, 06:22
Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, a section of the West Coast main line – the stretch of railway that runs into and out of London Euston – will be closed.
It is the sixth closure as part of Network Rail’s £81m improvement plan to replace 9 miles of track, signalling equipment and overhead power lines in the Watford area.
Due to a 350,000 tonne landslide, which blocked the Chiltern line between the West Midlands and London Marylebone for six weeks earlier this year, two closures that were scheduled for February 2015 were postponed.
During the Easter closure, the line will be closed between Hemel Hempstead and London Euston on the following dates:
Friday 3 April
Saturday 4 April
Sunday 5 April
Monday 6 April
Alternative travel options
Over the Bank Holiday weekend, London Midland has arranged for its tickets to be valid on Chiltern Railways, East Midlands Trains and Thameslink services, as well as selected London Overground and London Underground routes.
During the closures, London Midland will be running train services as far south as Hemel Hempstead – Hemel Hempstead will be the bus/rail interchange point. Here, for travel to London, passengers will join replacement bus services for Edgware underground station (calling at all stations along the route) approximately every 30 minutes.
Passengers travelling from London will be able to use Overground services from London Euston to Watford Junction. Buses will run from Watford to Hemel Hempstead, calling at all stations, and trains will run north from Hemel Hempstead.
On Sunday 5 April, trains will run as far south as Northampton. Buses will run between Northampton and Milton Keynes Central. Trains will run between Milton Keynes Central and Hemel Hempstead. Passengers can join replacement bus services between Hemel Hempstead and London Euston in both directions (calling at all stations along the route) approximately every 30 minutes.
Road transport will also run on the line from Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey (the Abbey Line) over the four days.
During the closures, passengers travelling to and from London should be prepared for busier services and longer journey times.
Terry Oliver, London Midland’s head of West Coast services said: “'My advice to passengers would be to postpone travel to another date if possible.
'London Midland will be running rail-replacement bus services over the Bank Holiday weekend, but journeys will involve changes and will take much longer than normal.
'If a journey is essential, remember to check before you travel, as there may be improvement work taking place elsewhere on the rail network.
‘Thank you to our passengers for their patience and cooperation, while these essential works take place.'
When the project is complete, passengers will benefit from a more reliable train service and robust railway between Milton Keynes and London Euston.
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “This is the latest phase of planned work in the Watford area which will provide a better railway for the millions of passengers who use the West Coast main line every year.
“There is never a good time to carry out this type of work but we have liaised closely with the train operators to plan for it to take place at a quieter time on the railway.
“The section of track at Watford is one of the most intensively used, high-speed pieces of railway in Britain and has seen tremendous growth in traffic and passengers over the last five years.
“We apologise for the inconvenience caused but the work is essential to improve the network and maintain reliable services on the West Coast main line.”
For more information on alternative travel arrangements, visit www.londonmidland.com/watford.
Please check www.nationalrail.co.uk to plan a journey and for any last minute changes.