by Phil Marsh

Mayday Bank Holiday engineering works closes West Coast Main Line

Published: 1st May 2014

Major alterations to rail services serving Euston

Don’t forget that if you are travelling to or from Euston over the Mayday Bank Holiday weekend to check your train services. Network Rail is closing the line in the Watford area to renew the signalling and other infrastructure.

This is the first of several holiday closures in this area and NR is spending £81million to do essential maintenance and to upgrade the line and reliability in the Watford area. The line will close between London Euston and Watford from Saturday 3 May to Monday 5 May which means passengers will need to consider not travelling or to use other train companies’ services.

Virgin services will only reach as far south as Milton Keynes or Rugby over the Mayday holiday weekend. There will generally be an hourly service from the4se stations northwards to Oxenholme, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham.

They said;

Dyan Crowther, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “The section of track at Watford is one of the most intensively used, high-speed sections in the UK and has seen tremendous growth in traffic and passengers over the last five years. “There is never a good time to close the railway but this work is essential to maintain reliable train services for the millions of passengers who travel on this route every year.

“We have worked with all our industry partners to provide passengers with information in advance and will continue to during the work to minimise disruption as much as possible.”

Barrie Cottam, London Midland’s head of West Coast services, said: “My advice would be use an alternative train route where possible. Everyone who needs to make a journey along the affected route should plan ahead and check again before travelling. “We have done all we can to minimise the inconvenience but having no through train services will mean longer journeys while the work takes place.

Phil Bearpark, operations and customer service director for Virgin Trains, said: “We are aware that many customers will be affected by the May Day bank holiday closure and we have made arrangements with a number of operators to ensure customers can continue to travel to and from London should they need to.

First of several planned closures

The May Day holiday closure is the first of eight weekend and bank holiday shut-downs in the next 12 months. This was the alternative to the original plan of closing the line for over 30 days this year which turned out to be not acceptable to the Government and passengers.

The work is designed to improve reliability and punctuality along this very busy section of the West Coast main line. If using other train services, journeys will take much longer and all but essential travel should be avoided. It is recommended that passengers who have to get to or from London use Chiltern Trains, East Coast Trains, First Capital Connect or Stagecoach East Midlands services.

The next closures

The West Coast Main Line is scheduled to be closed on the following dates:


Saturday 9 August to Monday 11 August

Saturday 16 August to Monday 18 August

Saturday 23 August to Tuesday 26 August

Wednesday 24 December to Monday 29 December


Saturday 14 February to Monday 16 February

Saturday 21 February to Monday 23 February

Friday 3 April to Tuesday 7 April

These replace the originally planned 16-day closure in August 2014 and nine-day closure in February 2015.

What’s going to be done?

The signalling between Kings Langley and Bushey will be renewed and more than 15km of new track will be laid. Modifications will be made to the overhead line equipment to make it more reliable and Orphanage Road bridge at Watford Junction will be replaced to allow for future line speeds of 125mph.

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