Circle and District lines 4 Week Closure Begins

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The Circle and District lines will be closed between High Street Kensington and Edgware Road from today for four weeks, reopening on Wednesday 24th August.

This encompasses one of the oldest sections of the London Underground, which was first built and operated by the Metropolitan Railway between Praed Street Junction (near Paddington) to Gloucester Road, and opened on 1 October 1868.

The Circle line is well-known for its delays, and 70 per cent of the delays between Notting Hill Gate and Paddington are due to signal and track failures. This is because the poor condition of drainage means that excess water result in track circuits failing, therefore leading to signal failures. The works will include track and drainage renewal so delays will be substantially minimised.

London Underground will take advantage of the closure to prepare for longer 7-car S Stock (as opposed to the current 6-car C69 and C77 Stock) on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines from 2012, and on the Wimbledon to Edgware Road section of the District line from 2013. The new trains, which feature air conditioning, will have space for 143 extra passengers. There will also be a power upgrade to support the new trains coming into service.

The block closure is obviously timed to coincide with a quieter period on the network, when commuting schoolchildren are on holiday with around 25,000 fewer passengers a day using the District and Circle lines between High Street Kensington and Edgware Road. Completing the work using weekend track closures only would mean at least 20 weekend closures spread across six months or more.

Block closures are not new on the Underground. Last year, the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines were closed for three weeks from Saturday 24th July to Sunday 15th August. London Underground got this ‘block closures’ idea from Madrid, which is how that city is undertaking its Metro upgrade.

During the month, the closure will also be extended at weekends to include the whole of the Circle line, and the District line between Earl’s Court and Gloucester Road. Part or all the Hammersmith & City line will also need to close at weekends. On two weekends part of the Metropolitan line would also need to close.

These weekend extensions to the closure will also enable additional works to be carried out for the upgrade of the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.

More information on the closure can be found here.

Written by George Moore