People who use the Bakerloo line or the London Overground in northwest London will need to find alternative routes in late December as both lines will be closed for a week’s worth of engineering works.

For a whole week, between Saturday 17th and Friday 23rd December, Network Rail engineers will carry out major improvements to a 20-mile stretch of railway in north London that is used by both the Bakerloo line and the London Overground.

Section of Tube Map showing lines that will be closed (c) TfL

Network Rail says that due to the scale of the work involved, they have no choice but to close the railway to all traffic.

During the closure, a regular service will continue to run on the Bakerloo line between Elephant & Castle and Queen’s Park, but there won’t be any Bakerloo line services north of Queen’s Park. In addition, the London Overground between Euston and Watford Junction will be closed.

The lines should be open on Christmas Eve.

TfL and Network Rail are recommending people switch to replacement buses or where possible, to use national rail services from Watford Junction, Bushey, Harrow & Wealdstone and Wembley Central, Jubilee line from Wembley Central or the Metropolitan line from Wembley Park, Preston Road, Northwick Park and Harrow-on-the Hill.

Temporary bus routes will be available during the closure periods.

  • Route 718 Queens Park to Harrow & Wealdstone
    • Via Kensal Green, Willesden Junction, Harlesden Town Centre, Stonebridge Park, Wembley Central, North Wembley, Preston Road, Kenton
  • Route 719 Queen’s Park to Wembley Park
    • Via Kensal Green, Willesden Junction, Harlesden Town Centre, Stonebridge Park, Wembley Central
  • Route 720 Watford Junction to Harrow-on-the-Hill
    • Via Headstone Lane, Hatch End, Carpenders Park, Bushey, Watford High Street

Network Rail says that closing the railway for consecutive days means that maintenance teams can carry out multiple complex projects at once which would otherwise take years of weekend or overnight working. For instance, they say that rail sleeper replacements could have taken between 7-8 years of midweek overnight shifts to get done. For the 10km signal cable replacement, it’s estimated 10 years of work is being condensed into this seven-day-closure.

During the closure, they will install 6,000 concrete sleepers in place of wooden ones dating back to the 1950s, replace 10km of signalling cables, and upgrade the drainage along the railway between Harlesden and Kenton. The power supply for both the Underground and Overground will also be upgraded, and a derelict electricity substation will be demolished to prevent it from collapsing onto the railway.

There will also be platform resurfacing and roof canopy maintenance at North Wembley, South Kenton, Kenton, Headstone Lane, and Carpenders Park stations.

And finally, an advance warning that there will also be a second one-week closure between Saturday 11th to Sunday 19th February 2023 – so a heads up if you want to book that week off work.

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6 comments
  1. Jaq Shipton says:

    (I think the termini or the listed stops are back to front for route 720)

  2. Michael Griffin says:

    Wembley Central is not on the Jubilee Line.

  3. Kai Chung says:

    It’s an excellent idea to carry out badly needed repairs during the Ongoing Covid19 Recession time when fewer people are travelling. More cost efficient as synergy can be used to best effect too.

  4. Grumpy Rob says:

    This stretch of line must hold the record for the most closed bit of tube. One can hope it’ll be more reliable after the works

  5. Rob King says:

    Regarding the temporary 720 bus route, is it really going to Harrow on the Hill rather than Harrow & Wealdstone?

    • Rob King says:

      Replying to my own question, I suppose that the thinking could be that people from e.g. Carpenters Park or Hatch End could bus back to Bushey and pick up the LNWR service to Harrow & Wealdstone.
      Yes, the alternative being the Met to London from Harrow on the Hill if more convenient for some.

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