Watford Junction railway station

Last updated

Watford Junction National Rail logo.svg Overground roundel (no text).svg
Watford Junction (6394450001).jpg
Hertfordshire UK location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Watford Junction
Location of Watford Junction in Hertfordshire
Location Watford
Local authority Borough of Watford
Managed by London Northwestern Railway
Owner Network Rail
Station codeWFJ
DfT category B
Number of platforms10
AccessibleYes [1]
Fare zone A
National Rail annual entry and exit
2013–14Increase2.svg 6.413 million [2]
– interchange Increase2.svg 0.562 million [2]
2014–15Increase2.svg 6.884 million [2]
– interchange Decrease2.svg 0.537 million [2]
2015–16Increase2.svg 8.190 million [2]
– interchange Increase2.svg 0.568 million [2]
2016–17Increase2.svg 8.270 million [2]
– interchange Increase2.svg 0.592 million [2]
2017–18Increase2.svg 8.321 million [2]
– interchange Decrease2.svg 0.582 million [2]
Key dates
20 July 1837Original station - Watford - opened. [3]
5 May 1858Station relocated and renamed as Watford Junction [3]
1909Rebuilt
1980sRefurbished throughout
Other information
External links
WGS84 51°39′49″N0°23′45″W / 51.6635°N 0.3958°W / 51.6635; -0.3958 Coordinates: 51°39′49″N0°23′45″W / 51.6635°N 0.3958°W / 51.6635; -0.3958
Underground sign at Westminster.jpg London transportportal

Watford Junction is a railway station that serves Watford, Hertfordshire. The station is on the West Coast Main Line (WCML), 17 miles 34 chains from London Euston [4] and the Abbey Line, a branch line to St Albans. Journeys to London take between 16 and 52 minutes depending on the service used: shorter times on fast non-stop trains and slower on the stopping Watford DC line services. Trains also run to Clapham Junction and East Croydon via the West London Line. The station is a major hub for local bus services and the connecting station for buses to the Harry Potter studio tour. The station is located north of a viaduct over the Colne valley and immediately south of Watford Tunnel.

Watford Town & Borough in England

Watford is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, South East England, 15 miles (24 km) northwest of central London.

Hertfordshire County of England

Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in southern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it is placed in the East of England region.

West Coast Main Line Railway route in Britain

The West Coast Main Line (WCML) is one of the most important railway corridors in the United Kingdom, connecting the major cities of London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow. It is one of the busiest mixed-traffic railway routes in Europe, carrying a mixture of intercity rail, regional rail, commuter rail and rail freight traffic. The core route of the WCML runs from London to Glasgow, with branches diverging to Northampton, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, totalling a route mileage of 700 miles (1,127 km). Services from London to North Wales and Edinburgh also run via the WCML; however the main London-Edinburgh route is the East Coast Main Line. In addition, several sections of the WCML form part of the suburban railway systems in London, Coventry, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow, with many more smaller commuter stations, as well as providing links to more rural towns.

Contents

History

The original 1837 Watford railway station Watford, The old railway station house - geograph.org.uk - 981561.jpg
The original 1837 Watford railway station
The new railway line opened in 1837 approached Watford over the River Colne on a viaduct (Thomas Roscoe, 1839) Roscoe L&BR(1839) p073 - Viaduct over the River Colne near Watford.jpg
The new railway line opened in 1837 approached Watford over the River Colne on a viaduct (Thomas Roscoe, 1839)

The first railway station to open in Watford was situated on the north side of St Albans Road, approximately 200 metres (220 yd) further up the line from the present-day station. This small, single-storey red-brick building was built 1836-7 when the first section of the London and Birmingham Railway (L&BR) was opened between London and Boxmoor. The station provided first and second-class waiting rooms, a departure yard, a carriage shed and engine house. The platforms were situated in a deep cutting which was accessed via a staircase. [5] In its 21 years of operation it also served as a station for royalty; in the short period when the Dowager Queen Adelaide was resident at Cassiobury House (c.1846-49), this station was remodelled to provide her with a royal waiting room, and it was also reportedly used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on a trip to visit Sir Robert Peel in November 1843, when they travelled by road from Windsor Castle to take a train from Watford to Tamworth. [6] The old station closed when it was replaced by a new, larger station, which opened on 5 May 1858. The new Watford Junction station was located south of St Albans Road in order to accommodate the newly constructed branch line to St Albans. The junction station was rebuilt in 1909, and was extensively redeveloped in the 1980s. The Grade-II-listed Old Station House still stands at 147A St Albans Road, a rare surviving example of architecture from the beginning of the railway age, and today the building is occupied by a second-hand car dealership. [7]

Watford railway station (1837-1858)

Watford railway station was a railway station in Watford, Hertfordshire in the UK. It was opened by the London and Birmingham Railway (L&BR) and it was the first railway station to open in Watford. It closed in 1858 when it was replaced by Watford Junction railway station. Today the small ticket office is still standing and it is a Grade II listed building.

London and Birmingham Railway early British railway company (1837–1846)

The London and Birmingham Railway (L&BR) was an early railway company in the United Kingdom, existing from 1833 to 1846, when it became part of the London and North Western Railway (L&NWR).

Cassiobury House

Cassiobury House was a country house in Cassiobury Park, Watford, England. It was the ancestral seat of the Earls of Essex. Originally a Tudor building, dating from 1546 for Sir Richard Morrison, it was substantially remodelled in the 17th and 19th centuries and ultimately demolished in 1927. The surrounding Cassiobury Park was turned into the main public open space for Watford.

In 1862, the Watford and Rickmansworth Railway opened a route from Watford to Rickmansworth (Church Street). Now mostly closed, this route began by running south and west to a more central station on Watford's High Street, which remains in use.

Watford and Rickmansworth Railway railway line

The Watford and Rickmansworth Railway (W&RR) ran services between Watford and Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, England. The company was incorporated in 1860; the line opened in 1862. The Rickmansworth branch was closed in 1952, and the remaining line was gradually run down and eventually closed in 1996.

Rickmansworth (Church Street) railway station

Rickmansworth railway station was a London and North Western Railway (LNWR) station in the town of Rickmansworth in west Hertfordshire, UK. Opened in 1862, it was the terminus of a 7.2-kilometre (4.5 mi) branch line which used to run from Watford. The station closed to passengers in 1952, although the line continued to be used as a goods line for some years after that. Church Street station has since been demolished.

From 1846, the L&BR was absorbed into the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) and Watford Junction was now run by this large, ambitious company. Seeking to compete with local buses and trams, the LNWR built an additional suburban line from Euston to Watford in the early years of the 20th century, now known as the Watford DC Line. This veered away from the main line at Bushey to loop around Watford to pass through the High Street station. A second suburban branch line was also built from High Street west towards Croxley Green to serve new housing developments in that area. Both branches were later electrified as part of this improvement plan, on the same DC three-rail system. The Rickmansworth branch was connected to the Main Line via two through platforms with a junction to the north; these platforms have since been partly built over and their remaining southern sections form part of the present DC lines terminus. At one time tube-style trains were used on the branches to counter the low voltage caused by the lack of a sub-station near Rickmansworth.

London and North Western Railway former railway company in United Kingdom

The London and North Western Railway was a British railway company between 1846 and 1922. In the late 19th century the L&NWR was the largest joint stock company in the United Kingdom.

Croxley Green village and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England

Croxley Green is a village and large suburb of Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, and a civil parish in England. Located on the A412 between Watford to the northeast and Rickmansworth to the southwest, it is approximately 20 miles (32 km) northwest of central London.

The Bakerloo line was extended to Watford Junction in 1917, giving a shared service north of Willesden Junction with the main line electric trains which served Euston and Broad Street stations. However, since 1982 [8] the line north of Harrow & Wealdstone has only been served by what is now the London Overground service from Euston station; this service uses these DC lines for its "all stations" local service.

Bakerloo line London Underground line

The Bakerloo line is a London Underground line that runs between Harrow & Wealdstone in suburban north-west London and Elephant & Castle in south London, via the West End. Coloured brown on the Tube map, it serves 25 stations, of which 15 are below ground, over 14.4 miles (23.2 km). It runs partly on the surface and partly at deep level.

Euston railway station central London railway terminus

Euston railway station is a central London railway terminus on Euston Road in the London Borough of Camden, managed by Network Rail. It is the southern terminus of the West Coast Main Line to Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central. It is also the mainline station for services to and through Birmingham New Street, and to Holyhead for connecting ferries to Dublin. Local suburban services from Euston are run by London Overground via the Watford DC Line which runs parallel to the WCML as far as Watford Junction. There is an escalator link from the concourse down to Euston tube station; Euston Square tube station is nearby. King's Cross and St Pancras railway stations are further down Euston Road.

Harrow & Wealdstone station London Underground and railway station

Harrow & Wealdstone is a railway station on the Watford DC and West Coast Main Line in Harrow and Wealdstone in the London Borough of Harrow. It is served by London Underground Bakerloo line, London Overground, London Northwestern Railway, Southern services. The station is located between The Bridge, and Sandridge Close, Harrow with entrances leading to both.

Oyster Card capability was extended to this station on 11 November 2007 on both the London Overground and Southern. It was extended to London Midland services on 18 November 2007. However, the station is outside London fare zones 1–9 and special fares apply.

London Midland train operating company in the United Kingdom

London Midland was a train operating company in England, owned by Govia, which operated the West Midlands franchise.

With the electrification of the entire West London Line in the 1990s, it became practical to run services from Watford Junction to Clapham Junction, allowing passengers to cross London without changing trains. Southern rail now operate an hourly service from Milton Keynes through Watford to East Croydon with connections to Brighton and Gatwick.

Watford Locomotive Depot 27 January 1951. Watford Locomotive Depot 2088484 51f4ba15.jpg
Watford Locomotive Depot 27 January 1951.

Motive power depot

The LNWR built a locomotive depot at the station in 1856, which was replaced by a larger building in 1872, and further enlarged in 1890. It was closed by British Railways in March 1965. [9]

Redevelopment

In 1984 the Victorian station buildings were demolished and the station was rebuilt in a modern architectural style with a travel centre and a large office block above the station which is occupied by the lorry and bus manufacturing company Iveco. Some 19th-century waiting rooms survived, but were finally demolished in 1987. [10] To enlarge the car park and provide more space, the St. Albans branch line was realigned northwards, with the original St. Albans platforms becoming a single terminating bay now mostly used by Southern services.

The station forecourt was extensively remodelled in 2013; the horseshoe-shaped taxi rank was moved to the side of the building, creating a larger pedestrian area in front of the station entrance, and the bus station enlarged. Due to problems with the road layout, buses were unable to gain access to the bus station, and there were problems with access to the relocated car park. London Northwestern Railway are considering revising the design. [11]

Further redevelopment of the station and its surroundings is planned for the next 10 years. They may be delayed because the redevelopment of Watford Junction has been placed within the Pre-Qualification pool of proposed schemes by the Department for Transport.

Accidents and incidents

1954 accident

1954 Watford Junction derailment
Accident summary
Details
Date3 February 1954
LocationWatford Junction railway station
CountryEngland
LineWest Coast Main Line
OperatorBritish Railways
Incident typeDerailment
CauseBroken rail
Statistics
Trains2
Injuries15
List of UK rail accidents by year

On 3 February 1954, an express passenger train became derailed in Watford Tunnel due to a broken rail. The last three carriages became divided from the train as it entered the station. One of them ended up on the platform. A passing express passenger train grazed the wreckage but only received minor damage. Fifteen people were injured. [12]

1975 accident

1975 Watford Junction rail crash
Accident summary
Details
Date23 January 1975
Time23:30
LocationWatford Junction railway station
CountryEngland
LineWest Coast Main Line
OperatorBritish Rail
CauseObstruction on line
Statistics
Trains2
Deaths1
Injuries11
List of UK rail accidents by year

On 23 January 1975, an express train from Manchester to Euston derailed just south of Watford Junction after striking some stillages that had fallen on to the track. It then collided with a sleeper service from Euston to Glasgow. The driver of the Manchester train was killed, and eight passengers and three railway staff injured. The stillages had fallen from a Ford company goods train that had passed the station a few minutes earlier, conveying car parts from Dagenham to Halewood. Although the wagons of the goods train were sealed on departure from Dagenham, three were found to have open doors when the train was inspected after the accident. The official enquiry ruled that the doors had been forced by thieves or vandals, probably when the train was standing at Gospel Oak. [13]

1996 accident

In August 1996, a Class 321 passenger train operated by Network SouthEast passed a signal at danger. An empty Class 321 coaching stock train collided with the stationary passenger train approximately 700 m south of Watford Junction.

2014 incident

On 26 October 2014, a Class 350 electric multiple unit on the 06:42 service from Milton Keynes Central to London Euston, operated by London Midland struck the door of a lineside equipment cabinet and suffered damage to a set of doors; however, no one was killed or injured. The RAIB investigated the incident, and concluded that the lineside cabinet door had not been properly secured during maintenance work the previous night. The investigation also noted that the maintenance crew were likely suffering from fatigue due to a pattern of consistent night-shift work, regular overtime, and short-term sleep deprivation. [14]

2016 accident

On 16 September 2016, Class 350 electric multiple unit 350 264 collided with a landslide, caused by heavy rain the previous night, at the entrance of the Watford Tunnel and derailed. Class 350 unit 350 233 then collided with the derailed train. Two injuries were reported, and trains were disrupted for three days. [15] [16]

Services

Map of railways around Watford town centre Watford railways.png
Map of railways around Watford town centre

The station is staffed by dispatch staff for London Northwestern Railway; London Overground also maintain a traincrew depot here. London Overground use only platforms 1-4 but also have a link onto platform 6 to be used for stock movements via the WCML to/from London Euston.

Off peak weekday service in trains per hour is: [17]

London Overground

Southern

London Northwestern Railway

Virgin Trains

Caledonian Sleeper

Preceding station  Overground notextroundel.svg National Rail logo.svg London Overground  Following station
Terminus Watford DC Line
towards  Euston
National Rail logo.svg National Rail
Crewe   Caledonian Sleeper
Highland Caledonian Sleeper
(northbound only)
  London Euston
Carlisle   Caledonian Sleeper
Lowland Caledonian Sleeper
  London Euston
Milton Keynes Central   London Northwestern Railway
London - Crewe/Birmingham
  London Euston
Kings Langley or
Hemel Hempstead
  London Northwestern Railway
London-Tring/Milton Keynes Central/Northampton/Birmingham
  Bushey or
Harrow & Wealdstone or
London Euston
Watford North   London Northwestern Railway
Abbey Line
 Terminus
Hemel Hempstead   Southern
West London Route
  Harrow & Wealdstone
Milton Keynes Central
or
Rugby
or
Coventry
  Virgin Trains
London-West Midlands
  London Euston
Milton Keynes Central or
Rugby
  Virgin Trains
West Coast Main Line
  London Euston
Rugby or
Coventry
  Virgin Trains
London Euston-Shrewsbury
  London Euston
  Historical railways  
Preceding station  Underground no-text.svg London Underground  Following station
Terminus Bakerloo line
(1917-1982)
National Rail logo.svg National Rail
Terminus  British Rail
Rickmansworth Branch
  Watford High Street
Terminus  Network SouthEast
Croxley Green Branch
  Watford High Street

Crossrail

Network Rail's July 2011 London & South East Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) recommended diverting West Coast Main Line (WCML) services from stations between London and Milton Keynes Central away from Euston, to Crossrail via Old Oak Common, to free up capacity at Euston for High Speed 2. This would provide a direct service from the WCML to the Shenfield, Canary Wharf and Abbey Wood, release London Underground capacity at Euston, make better use of Crossrail's capacity west of Paddington, and improve access to Heathrow Airport from the north. [18] Under this scheme, all Crossrail trains would continue west of Paddington, instead of some of them terminating there. They would serve Heathrow Airport (10 tph) and stations to Maidenhead and Reading (6 tph). [19]

In August 2014, a statement by the transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin indicated that the government was actively evaluating the extension of Crossrail as far as Tring, with potential Crossrail stops at Harrow & Wealdstone, Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted. The extension would relieve some pressure from London Underground and London Euston station while also increasing connectivity. Conditions to the extension are that any extra services would not affect the planned service pattern for confirmed routes, as well as affordability. [20] [21]

Platforms

Fast and slow lines at Watford Junction: a Virgin Trains Euston-Wolverhampton service & a London Midland stopping service Watford Junction railway station MMB 20 390045 350252.jpg
Fast and slow lines at Watford Junction: a Virgin Trains Euston-Wolverhampton service & a London Midland stopping service
The terminus of the Watford DC Line at Watford Junction Watford Junction railway station MMB 29 378210.jpg
The terminus of the Watford DC Line at Watford Junction

Platform Usage:

The display boards show that London Overground services terminate at South Hampstead so that customers use faster London Northwestern services to London Euston

Platform 5 was used by the Bakerloo line services of the London Underground until 1982, and removed as part of the subsequent major rebuild.

Connections

Local buses run to destinations including Heathrow Airport, Stanmore, Uxbridge and Brent Cross in London, Amersham, Chesham and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, Hatfield, Harpenden and Hertford in Hertfordshire, Luton Airport in Bedfordshire and Harlow in Essex.

Specific routes include London bus routes 142, 258 and non-London Arriva Shires & Essex routes 8, 10, 320, 321 and 520 as well as other Intalink routes 306 (school journeys), 352, 501, 635, W1, W2, W3, W4, W20 and W30.

The Warner Bros. London Harry Potter studio tour shuttle bus route 311 also leaves from the station forecourt.

Green Line route 724 stops in the station forecourt. It runs directly to St Albans and Harlow from stop 5 and to Heathrow Terminal 5 via Heathrow Central and Rickmansworth station from stop 2.

Future developments

Outline map of the changes to be brought about by the Croxley Rail Link Croxley rail link map.png
Outline map of the changes to be brought about by the Croxley Rail Link

Watford Junction station area improvements

There are plans to upgrade the station and its access points. The scheme includes a new multi-storey car park and a new access road to the station, connecting the A412 to Colonial Way and thus to the A4008 M1 link road. [22]

This scheme is currently in the Pre-Qualification pool, where to achieve funding a case for selection must be submitted and if successful the Watford Station redevelopments will be moved into the Development Pool where more than 24 transport projects will compete for about £600 million. [23]

A proposal called the Croxley Rail Link - later the Metropolitan Line Extension - would have diverted the Metropolitan line's Watford branch via the disused Croxley Green branch to terminate at Watford Junction. It was expected to open to passenger service in 2020 [24] , but due to funding issues, the project has been halted. [25]

Proposed developments

West London Line improvement

The London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy document published by Network Rail in July 2011 makes several suggestions for improving services to and from Watford Junction, to link the West London Line more effectively with the WCML and to 'free up' platform space at London Euston with the anticipation of High Speed 2. [26]

Assuming the ongoing increase in demand on the orbital route between Watford Junction and the West London Line, a significant increase of peak capacity services is needed, as the current service forms the only link between the Watford Junction and Kensington Olympia corridors. This proposal suggests increasing West London Line – Watford Junction/Milton Keynes Central peak service to three tph and increasing present off peak services from an hour to every 30 minutes as well as suggesting extending Southern trains from 4 car to 8 car to help ease overcrowding further. [26]

Crossrail

Outline map of the possible future Crossrail extensions as recommended in the 2011 RUS Crossrail extensions.png
Outline map of the possible future Crossrail extensions as recommended in the 2011 RUS

The 2011 London & South East Rail Utilisation Strategy also made recommendations for the Crossrail lines now under construction in central London to be extended northwards into Hertfordshire via Watford Junction, with Tring and Milton Keynes identified as potential termini. [27] The report recommends the addition of a tunnel in the vicinity of a proposed station at Old Oak Common connecting the Crossrail route to the West Coast Main line. The diversion of rail services through central London would enable a direct link from stations such as Watford Junction to West End stations such as Tottenham Court Road and would alleviate congestion at Euston station; Crossrail services currently planned to terminate at Paddington due to capacity constraints would also be able to continue further east, allowing for a more efficient use of the line. This proposal has not been officially confirmed or funded, although an announcement made in August 2014 by the transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin indicated that the government was actively evaluating the possibility of extending Crossrail as far as Tring and Milton Keynes Central. [21]

London Euston/Watford-Aylesbury services

The rail operator Chiltern Railways proposed in 2008 that a new east-west direct rail route from Watford Junction to Aylesbury could be operated via the new Croxley Rail Link and the northern section of the London to Aylesbury Line. [28] The proposal, or a connection from Aylesbury to London Euston, has been supported by the transport advocacy group Greengauge 21. [29] A 2006 report by Hertfordshire County Council mentioned the possibility of a link running as far as Amersham. [30]

Watford to St Albans Busway (Abbey Busway)

A Draft Rail Strategy consultation published by Hertfordshire County Council in June 2015 again considered light rail proposals for the Abbey Line but also recommended that the railway track be removed and replaced with a guided busway. [31] [32]

See also

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References

Notes

  1. "London and South East" (PDF). National Rail. September 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation. Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  3. 1 2 Butt (1995), page 242
  4. "Network Rail Sectional Appendix Archives - London North Western Southern Section" (PDF). Network Rail.
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