The long awaited extension of the Metropolitan Line to Watford Junction has been approved. The new link is expected to cost just over £110 Million, with a large amount of the cost being used to construct a new section of line.
Currently, the Metropolitan line runs to a station known only as “Watford” which is an inconvenient distance from both Watford High Street and Watford Junction. The new line will mean the closure of the station known as ‘Watford’, with a line diverging away from the current station at Croxley.
Croxley Green, the station closed by Network South East station will not reopen and neither will Watford West and Watford Stadium. In the mid 1980s, the line was briefly served by a regular service as an experiment, but this did not attract enough passengers so was eventually closed. New class 313 trains were introduced at the same time and the 50 year old sheds at Croxley were also shut. They still carried signs telling steam drivers that steam locomotives were banned from the sheds when demolished, 25 years after steam ended!
In the place of Croxley Green, a new station will open at Ascot Road, which will serve the areas of Holywell and Croxley Green itself. In place of Watford West and Watford Stadium will be a single station at Watford Hospital. Trains will stop at the current London Overground station at Watford High Street. The new construction is likely to be elevated in order to avoid homes and other infrastructure which is in the way of the extension.
The extension comes as another piece of good news in public transport improvements in the Hertfordshire. Previously approved is an upgrade of the “Abbey Line” to St Albans to a Tram line although this has run into planning difficulties delaying things.
This would see more frequent services and potentially a through link to the middle of St Albans itself. Also on the cards is an extension of the Bakerloo line from Harrow & Wealdstone along the already busy Watford DC line served by London Overground.
This announcement is expected to instigate capacity improvements to Watford Junction station, already served by a number of Intercity and Suburban services, and will see the Abbey Line Trams.
The Met line was due to be extended back to Watford Junction in early Network Southeast days, but the reintroduction of Underground trains never quite happened despite several announcements!