Future engineering work

PAGE LAST UPDATED: 30/01/2015 07:54. Update now

See details of routes affected by planned engineering works, including when they take effect, maps of the affected area, alternative timetables, advice for alternative travel and real-time updates.

Major improvement works affecting trains between Watford Junction and London Euston over a series of weekends until April 2015

Start date
End date
Route affected

All routes to and from London Euston and between Milton Keynes Central and Clapham Junction

TOC(s) affected
London MidlandSouthernVirgin Trains

In 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 with trains running around the clock it's becoming increasingly unreliable.

Over a series of weekends until April 2015, Network Rail will be replacing three critical junctions to the north and south of Watford and renewing the signalling system in the area. It will also replace the track crossovers with track that is easier to maintain, reducing future disruption due to maintenance, resulting in fewer delays, better punctuality and providing more comfortable journeys.

Over the middle three weekends in August, including the bank holiday Monday, Network Rail closed the railway at Watford Junction, to continue this work. Engineers installed new track, ballast and signalling equipment, on a tight schedule, ensuring the railway was handed back to train operators on time. When the project is completed in Easter 2015, journeys through Watford will be smoother and faster.

To see how work was carried out in August you can watch a video here 

The Improvement works, when complete, will:

  • Renew all signalling between Kings Langley and Bushey allowing greater flexibility and quicker return to a normal service after disruption
  • Lay over 15km (9 miles) of new track giving a smoother journey
  • Modify the overhead line equipment to make it more reliable       
  • Reconstruct Orphanage Road Bridge to allow for future line speeds of 125 mph


The line between Watford Junction and London Euston will be closed on the following dates to allow for this work:


  • Thursday 25 December 2014 to Sunday 28 December 2014 (the line between Wolverhampton and Stafford is also closed this weekend. You can find more information on this here). 


  • Saturday 14 February 2015 to Monday 16 February 2015
  • Saturday 21 February 2015 to Monday 23 February 2015
  • Friday 3 April 2015 to Tuesday 7 April 2015


For full details of the changes over the Christmas Period and the impact on your journey, please use the National Rail Enquiries Journey Planner.

No trains will run on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. On Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 December, a severely reduced service will run.

On Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 December no trains will operate to / from London on the West Coast Line. Other routes are expected to be extremely busy as passengers will have to use alternative services.

Virgin Trains services will start / terminate at either Rugby or Milton Keynes Central. An hourly train service will run between Birmingham International, Coventry and London Euston via the Chiltern lines.

Virgin Trains are advising passengers to use the following routes:

  • Between Manchester and London should travel via Sheffield and London St Pancras International
  • Between Liverpool and London should travel via Nuneaton and Leicester
  • Between Glasgow and London should travel via the East Coast mainline
  • Between Birmingham International and London a direct train will run between Birmingham and London Euston via the Chiltern Lines


London Midland services between London Euston and Tring / Milton Keynes Central / Northampton will not run with Birmingham New Street and Crewe services running between Northampton and Birmingham New Street and between Northampton and Crewe only.

London Midland are advising passengers to use the routes from this link

Replacement buses will run between Stanmore (London Underground) / Watford Junction and Hemel Hempstead.

A half hourly train service will run between Northampton and Hemel Hempstead.

As part of these works, platform 10 at Watford Junction will be out of use. The following services will not be run between Monday 1 December 2014 and Monday 5 January 2015:

  • 07:55 Watford Junction to London Euston
  • 08:15 Watford Junction to London Euston
  • 17:34 London Euston to Watford Junction


No Southern service will run between Watford Junction and Clapham Junction. Passengers should use London Midland and London Overground services.