Passengers reminded of Abbey Line closure as Watford upgrades continue: Work taking place on the West Coast main line at Watford in May 2014

Tuesday 11 Nov 2014

Passengers reminded of Abbey Line closure as Watford upgrades continue

Region & Route:
| North West & Central

Major work to renew a junction connecting the railway line between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey and the West Coast Main Line will start on 29 November.

For four weeks until 29 December, the Abbey Line will close to allow engineers to also modernise the signalling equipment on this part of the network. This essential upgrade is part of a £81m project to deliver a more reliable railway between Milton Keynes and London Euston.

Jim Syddall, acting route managing director for Network Rail, said: “The section of track through Watford Junction 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.

“A key part of the scheme to upgrade the track and signalling through Watford includes the renewal of the junction which connects the Abbey Line to the West Coast Main Line.

“To achieve this, without having to significantly disrupt services on the West Coast Main Line, we need to close the Abbey line for four weeks. When the work is completed, the junction which is currently manually operated will be mechanised and operated with more modern technology.

“There is never a good time to close the railway and we apologise for the inconvenience this will cause but this work is essential to maintain reliable train services for passengers who travel on the Abbey line."

Terry Oliver, London Midland’s head of West Coast services, said: “During the December closure, buses will replace trains on the Abbey Line. Bus timetables will be available at Abbey Line stations and online.

“We recognise that this is quite a long closure at a particularly busy time of the year. However, following the two-week closure of the Abbey Line in August, we have listened to passenger feedback and revised our rail-replacement bus plan for December accordingly. We advise passengers to check before they travel and thank them in advance for their patience.”

The Abbey line will be closed from 1940 on 29th November until 0554 on 29th December. Buses will replace trains and will run between Watford Junction and St Albans City train stations, stopping at all Abbey Line stations.

Printed timetables for rail replacement bus services will soon be available at Abbey Line stations and online at

Notes to editors

Network Rail’s project to improve the railway in Watford includes replacing 12 miles of track, signalling equipment and overhead power lines. Once the work is completed in 2015, this will help to deliver a more punctual service, modern and reliable infrastructure and help to support future line speed increases.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - South East route
020 3357 7969

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: