West Coast Main Line To Close

30 July 2013, 06:00 | Updated: 30 July 2013, 09:24

A 12 mile stretch of the West Coast Main Line will close next year for improvement work to be carried out.

Network Rail are spending £81 million on the section of the line between Kings Langley, Watford Junction and Bushey.

Work will include putting down new tracks, upgrading the overhead line equipment and renewing crossovers and signalling.

The closures will have an impact the journeys of everyone travelling through that area including those going in and out of London from places like Leighton Buzzard, Milton Keynes and Northampton.

Work will start in May 2014.

The first closure is scheduled for the May Bank Holiday weekend between the 3rd and 5th.

The next closure will then last for 16 consecutive days between the 8th and 25th August 2014.

There's more closures in December 2014, February 2015 and April 2015.

During this time train operators will make alternative arrangements for passengers to complete their journeys.

 Ben Herbert is from Network Rail and has been speaking to Heart:

"We're working very closely with train operators to come up with a plan that is as least disruptive to passengers as possible while this essential work is undertaken, we'll be confirming more details on this in the coming months." 

Chris Gibb, the chief operating officer for Virgin Trains, said: 

“We shall ensure that all customers have a reliable way of travelling to and from London principally by being able to use other train operators’ services but in some cases by taking a replacement coach service for a short portion of the journey. 

"We are starting a dialogue now with industry partners that puts the customer first, but at the same time allows Network Rail to carry out this essential work.”

Patrick Verwer, London Midland managing director, added: 

“We want our customers to have good journeys with minimum disruption. This is much needed investment and a series of closures is the quickest way of bringing the benefits of this major upgrade to our passengers. 

"It gives certainty and allows us to plan good quality alternative travel arrangements. We are now working closely with Network Rail and other industry partners to ensure that there is a comprehensive programme of communication with good passenger information available well ahead of and during the closures. 

"It’s vital that passengers are aware of what’s going on so they can plan their journeys and allow enough time to get to their destinations.”

This work at Watford is in addition to the £40 million of investment announced by Network Rail last month to improve performance on the southern end of the West Coast Main Line.