Network Rail's Watford Junction closures prompt call for rethink from Watford MP Richard Harrington and Mayor Dorothy Thornhill

Watford Junction closures for railway work prompts call for rethink

Watford Junction closures for railway work prompts call for rethink

First published in News
Last updated
Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Rail bosses have been urged to reduce plans to close Watford Junction Station for a fortnight in the summer as part of a track improvement programme.

Network Rail bosses were lobbied last week by Watford’s MP Richard Harrington and elected mayor Dorothy Thornhill over the disruption the shutdown will cause to commuters in the town.

Watford Junction is due to be closed for five separate periods between May 2014 and April next year, as part of the £81 million works scheme.

Part of the programme includes renewing signalling power supplies between Kings Langley and Bushey along with relaying 15km of track and crossings and upgrading over line equipment.

The current schedule shows the Watford Junction will first close from May 3 to 5 and then from August 8 to 25 and then between December 25 to 29.

The works will also see closures in February 2015 from the 14th to 22nd and then between April 3 to 6.

Network Rail is currently reviewing the closure schedule and is due to announce any changes in the coming weeks.

Following meeting with Network Rail bosses, Mayor Thornhill said: "I have urged all parties involved to minimise disruption for passengers as closures will be a big deal to regular commuters.

"I’ve also assured them that we will do everything we can to help - we will work constructively together to ensure these much needed improvements to the line can take place as efficiently as possible."

Mr Harrington added: "Further to my meetings with Network Rail, I am pleased that they now hope to deliver the improvements to the line without a full 16 day closure in August.

"This week there should be a meeting with train operating companies to pin down more details and, once that is complete, I will be speaking to the Department for Transport and lobbying to ensure every effort is made to ease disruption".

Comments (6)

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12:13pm Tue 28 Jan 14

watfoid says...

Anybody remember the last "upgrade", 2004 -2006? They closed lots of lines and promised us high speeds. The work was rushed to re-open on a deadline, and as soon as they opened it, bits started falling off the wires and tracks and there were many closures to sort out the contractor's bodge jobs. The work should have been good for many years but now Network Fail want to shut the line again to upgrade the upgraded line. Can't we just have this work sorted out?
Anybody remember the last "upgrade", 2004 -2006? They closed lots of lines and promised us high speeds. The work was rushed to re-open on a deadline, and as soon as they opened it, bits started falling off the wires and tracks and there were many closures to sort out the contractor's bodge jobs. The work should have been good for many years but now Network Fail want to shut the line again to upgrade the upgraded line. Can't we just have this work sorted out? watfoid
  • Score: -1

12:25pm Tue 28 Jan 14

TRT says...

Any reduction of the closure schedule should be achieved by clever juggling of the works schedules and not made as a result of some vote-chasing, glory-grabbing, photo-mugging politician! The infrastructure managers know exactly the effects of their disruption and work day in day out to minimise it whilst attempting to crystal-ball gaze and predict future problems and workarounds/solution
s for those. Every single day, the Network Rail people I know are out fixing something that's gone wrong somewhere from vandalised signals to cable theft to wind damage to discarded tin cans bridging section gaps etc etc. None of this is reported in the papers, it barely gets a mention on the TV, though the BBC's The Tube came close to showing the kind of everyday goings on they have to deal with.
So if I see one smarmy mugshot of Harrington or Thornhill outside WJ claiming 'they fixed the railways', I'll, I'll, I'll probably leave another frothing at the mouth comment on the WO website. *sigh*
Any reduction of the closure schedule should be achieved by clever juggling of the works schedules and not made as a result of some vote-chasing, glory-grabbing, photo-mugging politician! The infrastructure managers know exactly the effects of their disruption and work day in day out to minimise it whilst attempting to crystal-ball gaze and predict future problems and workarounds/solution s for those. Every single day, the Network Rail people I know are out fixing something that's gone wrong somewhere from vandalised signals to cable theft to wind damage to discarded tin cans bridging section gaps etc etc. None of this is reported in the papers, it barely gets a mention on the TV, though the BBC's The Tube came close to showing the kind of everyday goings on they have to deal with. So if I see one smarmy mugshot of Harrington or Thornhill outside WJ claiming 'they fixed the railways', I'll, I'll, I'll probably leave another frothing at the mouth comment on the WO website. *sigh* TRT
  • Score: 2

12:27pm Tue 28 Jan 14

TRT says...

watfoid wrote:
Anybody remember the last "upgrade", 2004 -2006? They closed lots of lines and promised us high speeds. The work was rushed to re-open on a deadline, and as soon as they opened it, bits started falling off the wires and tracks and there were many closures to sort out the contractor's bodge jobs. The work should have been good for many years but now Network Fail want to shut the line again to upgrade the upgraded line. Can't we just have this work sorted out?
That's WHY the long closure. To return the line to service means reinstatement teams having to come in and put back the vital bits in the hour before service resumption... then take it all away the next night. That's why a long, total closure is better than a continuous stop-start of overnight and weekend works. Their plans are quite extensive.
[quote][p][bold]watfoid[/bold] wrote: Anybody remember the last "upgrade", 2004 -2006? They closed lots of lines and promised us high speeds. The work was rushed to re-open on a deadline, and as soon as they opened it, bits started falling off the wires and tracks and there were many closures to sort out the contractor's bodge jobs. The work should have been good for many years but now Network Fail want to shut the line again to upgrade the upgraded line. Can't we just have this work sorted out?[/p][/quote]That's WHY the long closure. To return the line to service means reinstatement teams having to come in and put back the vital bits in the hour before service resumption... then take it all away the next night. That's why a long, total closure is better than a continuous stop-start of overnight and weekend works. Their plans are quite extensive. TRT
  • Score: 1

12:40pm Tue 28 Jan 14

SimmyB says...

Please consider people travelling from outside for the football also!!!!
Please consider people travelling from outside for the football also!!!! SimmyB
  • Score: 1

12:49pm Tue 28 Jan 14

InterludeWFC says...

Just let them get on with the work. The railways are suffering after years of neglect under British Rail - now that serious investment is finally coming in, necessary improvements are being held back by bureaucracy.
Just let them get on with the work. The railways are suffering after years of neglect under British Rail - now that serious investment is finally coming in, necessary improvements are being held back by bureaucracy. InterludeWFC
  • Score: 1

8:12pm Tue 28 Jan 14

User_A says...

There were parts of the West Coast Mainline that were not upgraded as the cost of the upgrade was climbing.

As a comprimise, parts of the upgrade programme not needed for the December 2008 timetable (which included higher speeds for Virgin Trains) were discarded.

The Watford area was one of them (others include Nothampton (now upgraded), Bletchley (now upgraded), Stafford (upgrade now being done)) and the Watford area is very much due for renewal for modern standards (LED signalling, new signals to comply with modern standards (such as signls for curved platforms 8, 9 and 10) etc.).
There were parts of the West Coast Mainline that were not upgraded as the cost of the upgrade was climbing. As a comprimise, parts of the upgrade programme not needed for the December 2008 timetable (which included higher speeds for Virgin Trains) were discarded. The Watford area was one of them (others include Nothampton (now upgraded), Bletchley (now upgraded), Stafford (upgrade now being done)) and the Watford area is very much due for renewal for modern standards (LED signalling, new signals to comply with modern standards (such as signls for curved platforms 8, 9 and 10) etc.). User_A
  • Score: 1

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