A £326m upgrade of London Overground, which will provide passengers with longer and more frequent trains, will be stepped up this month when major engineering works begin on the Gospel Oak to Stratford section of the line.
'We apologise to passengers for this inconvenience and are doing all we can to minimise the disruption caused
Between Saturday 20 February and 1 June 2010 major signalling and track renewal work, platform lengthening and the refurbishment of some stations will mean there will be no service between Gospel Oak and Stratford stations.
A rail replacement service will provide buses every 20 minutes six days a week. On Sundays this will reduce to two buses an hour.
More frequent services
London Overground has also set up a system that will allow many passengers to travel at no extra cost by Tube or National Rail services through Zone 1, providing they travel from a Tube or National Rail station near their usual London Overground station.
Passengers should check their eligibility by picking up a pamphlet at one of the stations or contact the Oyster Help Desk on 0845 330 9876.
When the complete upgrade is finished in 2011, London Overground will run more frequent services with longer trains.
Services from Richmond and Clapham Junction to Stratford will run four times per hour all day every day and there will be six trains per hour between Willesden Junction and Camden Road and eight trains per hour in the peak between Camden Road and Stratford.
Ian Brown, the Managing Director of TfL London Rail, said: 'We apologise to passengers for this inconvenience and are doing all we can to minimise the disruption caused.
'This was one of the most neglected railways in the UK when we took it over two years ago and these are essential works that will help us unlock the true potential of the London Overground network, which is to offer a far more frequent Metro-style turn-up-and-go service.
'We have to close this part of the line for this amount of time because of the nature of the work.
'Large amounts of material will have to be moved around for the signalling and track upgrades, which means if we were to restrict the work to weekends and then have to restore the railway to working order each Monday morning, the disruption would be over a much longer period.'
The improvement work is part of an upgrade that will see more than 200 signals, seven kilometres of track and 69 sets of points improved and 30 station platforms lengthened.
Passengers are being urged to always check before they travel during the closure and to take, if at all possible, alternative transport such as Tubes and replacement buses.
Andrew Munden, Route Director for Network Rail, said: 'The investment being made in the North London line is an integral part of Network Rail's plans to improve services and build a bigger and better railway in the Capital.
'The project will provide vital additional capacity for the Olympic Games and help meet growing demand on the line, which is expected to rise by a quarter in the next seven years.'
The suspension of the Gospel Oak to Stratford services will mean that not all of the trains from Richmond and Clapham Junction will be able to run through to Gospel Oak but will have to stop at Willesden Junction to take advantage of the turnaround facilities there.
In the morning and evening peak two trains per hour from Clapham Junction and two trains per hour from Richmond will carry on to Gospel Oak, while the other one train per hour from Richmond and one train per hour from Clapham Junction will terminate and start at Willesden Junction.
There will also be one extra train during the busiest hour of the peak between Willesden Junction and Richmond. The off peak service times remain unaffected.
Notes to editors:
- Transport for London (TfL) and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) are providing three quarters of the £326m funding for the upgrade (TfL 44 per cent, ODA 32 per cent) with Network Rail giving 23 per cent and the Department for Transport, one per cent
- During the Gospel Oak to Stratford works a rail replacement bus service will run between Stratford and Hampstead Heath approximately every 20 minutes in both directions, six days a week. On Sundays, there will be two buses an hour
- The service will call at all stations apart from Caledonian Road & Barnsbury because of access restrictions to that station. An additional stop has been set up outside Holloway Road Tube station which passengers from Caledonian Road and Barnsbury may reach via the Piccadilly line from Caledonian Road, or the 153 bus from Hemingford Rd
- There may be more, but shorter, closures later in 2010
- Valid London Overground tickets will be accepted on all London Overground rail replacement bus services, some local bus services along the affected line and at some Tube stations. Further information can be found online
- Oyster pay as you go users may incur an additional charge for using London Underground services. As a result they may be entitled to an automatic refund, if they do not receive a refund within 14 days of their journey please contact the Oyster Helpdesk on 0845 330 9876. Unusable days will be re-credited to existing tickets, season tickets or Travelcards
- TfL Customer Advice teams have held 58 morning and evening information sessions at 24 stations on the London Overground network from 11 January to 2 February to provide information and travel advice about the planned closure
- Alternative travel arrangement leaflets are available at all stations, and a fares and ticketing flyer will also be available from all stations before the beginning of the closure
- For further information, please visit tfl.gov.uk/overground or call the Customer Services Team on 0845 601 4867 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Network Rail's Helpline is available to assist customers and residents with enquiries related to the works. Please contact them on 0845 711 4141
- Weekend engineering works
- The planned weekend engineering works affecting services on the Gospel Oak - Barking line will continue most weekends for the remainder of 2009 and up to 2010
- The weekend service frequency of up to three trains per hour on Saturday mornings and evenings, and two on Sunday will carry on until June 2010. From June 2010 the Saturday frequency will be of four trains per hour (all day) and the Sunday frequency will be of two trains per hour until May 2011, after which the service frequency will increase to four trains per hour all day and every day
- Richmond to Stratford line. There will be no Sunday service until May 2011. After which, there will be a minimum of four trains per hour all day and every day
- Clapham Junction - Willesden Junction line. There will be no Sunday service between Shepherd's Bush and Willesden Junction, most weekends until May 2011
- There will be no service for several weekends between Clapham Junction and Olympia in April-June 2010
- There will be no Sunday service between Shepherd's Bush and Willesden Junction, most weekends, until the early part of 2011. After which there will be four trains per hour on Saturdays and on Sundays
- Watford Junction to Euston line. There will be no service for several weekends between Wembley Central and Queens Park, from January-April 2010