Upgrade work that closed parts of the Bakerloo line and the London Overground over the past few weeks has now been completed, Network Rail has confirmed.

Railway improvements in Harlesden (c) Network Rail

Engineers worked between Sunday 23rd July and Friday 25th August to overhaul track, signalling and power supplies for electric trains on a 20-mile stretch of railway and upgrade six stations in north London. The track work will bring improved journey reliability while the weatherproofing and tactile paving at the stations will make travelling safer for passengers.

The five-week closure was also supported by using London Underground equipment, trains, drivers and resources.

The £29 million investment saw some 18,000 new concrete sleepers installed to replace wooden ones dating back to the 1950s.  They also upgraded 1km of railway drainage between Harlesden and Stonebridge Park to prevent future flooding and replaced 48km of cabling for signals. There were also upgrades to the power supply for London Underground and London Overground trains.

Away from the tracks, station upgrades included platform resurfacing and roof canopy maintenance.

New rail sleepers and platform improvements at Harlesden station (c) Network Rail

Harlesden, Kensal Green, Watford High Street, South Kenton, Headstone Lane and North Wembley stations saw a combination of platform resurfacing, canopy renovations, tidying up plants and trees and the installation of tactile paving to improve safety for blind and partially sighted people.

The phased railway closure meant construction teams could carry out multiple complex projects at once which would otherwise have taken years of weekend closures and overnight working.

The latest upgrades follow similar work which took place in December 2022 and February 2023.


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  1. Fazal Majid says:

    Now they just need to replace 1971 vintage trains that are so old TfL has to raid the London Transportation Museum for parts, as the original manufacturer is long out of business.


      Then let there be an additional billions needed to do this.

    • Brian Butterworth says:

      I thought they were going to roll out the New Trains For London once the Piccadilly Line ones have all been replaced?

    • Kiran says:

      Couldn’t agree more with you Fazai the trains are in such bad condition. I have seen trains in Third World countries are better than the Bakerloo line trains. They are horrible grubby end when it’s hot. The trains are so humid and horrible and when it’s cold they are freezing sort this upgrade out soon. Please TfL one of the oldest train lines I think there is and you are one of the last to upgrade why. I don’t know all this work has been done when travelling two days ago the trains to elephant and Castle I had to wait nearly 20 minutes because the first one that was arriving at South Kenton was cancelled surprise surprise.

  2. Sam says:

    Still cannot be used to run freight trains and engineering trains between Watford Junction and Willesdon Junction or even Wembley. Total waste of line when passenger trains are not running. National rail timetable always has wrong information on Overground/ Bakerloo line trains running on this line.

    • Sean de burca says:

      What is the reason for no engineering trains between Watford Junction and Willesden Junction/Wembley?
      Agree, there should be later or night trains running on the “DC Line” especially at weekends!

  3. Lincoln Motta says:

    They should have made these improvements years ago, while the WCML was upgraded in the late 1990s. Talk about concrete sleepers on the fast and slow lines on the WCML.

    The Bakerloo Line service north of Queens Park is so unreliable. It should be peak hours only (1984 to 1989), lol.

    • Sean de burca says:

      It should go all the way to Watford Junction! Frequency of LO trains north of Harrow & Wealdstone is just not good enough!

    • ianVisits says:

      The late 1990s would still be 25 years ago, and they’d still need to close the line for major maintenance works after a quarter of a century of use.

  4. JP says:

    Sean, as an educated guess and from experience elsewhere on the network, I’d suggest that the reason for no freight &c. combinations is because of one or two tired bridges in need of an expensive rebuild.

    The “final mile” of a freight journey still inhibits willing investment in re-establishing frieght depôts around the land, so lorries are still the lazy, cheaper option.
    Therefore investing in bridges to enable sparse~ish traffic is presumably not economic.

    Even the Bakerloo trains have had speed restrictions because of their very own bridges too.

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