London Overground’s Watford High Street station will be closed for one week in August to allow refurbishment work to take place on an ageing staircase.
The station, which originally opened in 1862, became a part of Transport for London (TfL)’s London Overground network in 2007, though Network Rail still owns the station infrastructure.
Given its age, the staircase is regularly inspected. Following its most recent inspection, engineers advised that, while it remains safe, a planned replacement should take place as soon as possible to avoid the risk of a short notice repair or closure in the future. It was decided to carry out the works during this August as it is traditionally quieter – schools are on holiday and football matches at the nearby Watford FC’s Vicarage Road stadium won’t yet have started for the new season.
The staircase provides the only customer access to the platforms and the work has been carefully planned to minimise customer disruption as much as possible.
Engineers considered doing the work while the station remained open but decided it would be safer and quicker to condense the works into one week to minimise the impact on local people.
The staircase has two double flights with a landing in the middle. It was originally built using timber with a central handrail that is held by cast iron posts. During the week’s closure, a new steel structure will be fitted and the original cast iron posts restored and reused. The glazed roof above the staircase will also be replaced to make the walkway brighter and lighter for passengers.
Rory O’Neill, TfL’s General Manager for London Overground, said: “It is never an easy decision to close a station but this short, one-week closure will allow the work to be completed more quickly and minimise the longer term disruption for our customers.”
James Woof, senior asset engineer for buildings at Network Rail, added: “This important work to the staircase at Watford High Street station will keep it safe and open for passengers for decades to come. The £400,000 investment means the station will have to close for a week because the staircase is the only access to the station platforms.
“We know this will inconvenience passengers in the short-term, but once refurbished, it will mean less maintenance and disruption for local rail users in the years to come.”