|Local authority||Borough of Watford|
|Managed by||London Northwestern Railway|
|Number of platforms||10|
|National Rail annual entry and exit|
|– interchange||0.568 million|
|– interchange||0.592 million|
|– interchange||0.584 million|
|– interchange||0.550 million|
|– interchange||0.550 million|
|20 July 1837||Original station - Watford - opened.|
|5 May 1858||Station relocated and renamed as Watford Junction|
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 Eustonand 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 Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. The station is located north of a viaduct over the Colne valley and immediately south of Watford Tunnel.
Key to symbols
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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 1982the 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.
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.
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.
There is a well known expression "North of Watford" which is used to mean the north of England, especially a place remote from London.The alternative variant phrase "North of Watford Junction" was used with similar meaning in the past, referring to Watford Junction railway station. The expression reflects the station's position as the last urban stop on the main railway line out of London to the north of England. In more recent years it has been suggested that the phrase references Watford Gap services on the M1, however the original saying was in existence well before its opening in 1959.
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.
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.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.
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.
|1954 Watford Junction derailment|
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.
|1975 Watford Junction rail crash|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
|Preceding station||London Overground||Following station|
|Terminus||Watford DC Line|
|Crewe|| Caledonian Sleeper |
Highland Caledonian Sleeper
|Carlisle|| Caledonian Sleeper |
Lowland Caledonian Sleeper
|Milton Keynes Central|| London Northwestern Railway |
London - Crewe/Birmingham
| Kings Langley or |
| London Northwestern Railway |
London-Tring/Milton Keynes Central/Northampton/Birmingham
| Bushey or |
Harrow & Wealdstone or
|Watford North|| London Northwestern Railway |
|Hemel Hempstead|| Southern |
West London Route
|Harrow & Wealdstone|
| Milton Keynes Central |
| Avanti West Coast |
| Milton Keynes Central or|
| Avanti West Coast |
West Coast Main Line
| Rugby or|
| Avanti West Coast |
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
|Terminus|| Bakerloo line |
towards Elephant & Castle
|Terminus|| British Rail |
|Watford High Street|
|Terminus|| Network SouthEast |
Croxley Green Branch
|Watford High Street|
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.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).
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.
(Platform 5 was used by the Bakerloo line services of the London Underground until 1982, and removed as part of the subsequent major rebuild)
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. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter 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.
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.
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.
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,but due to funding issues, the project has been halted.
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.
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.
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.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.
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.The proposal, or a connection from Aylesbury to London Euston, has been supported by the transport advocacy group Greengauge 21. A 2006 report by Hertfordshire County Council mentioned the possibility of a link running as far as Amersham.
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.
The West Coast Main Line (WCML) is one of the most important railway corridors in the United Kingdom, connecting the major cities of London and Glasgow with branches to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh. 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 for 399 miles (642 km) and was opened from 1837 to 1869. With additional lines deviating to Northampton, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh, this totals a route mileage of 700 miles (1,127 km). The Glasgow–Edinburgh via Carstairs line connects the WCML to Edinburgh, however the main London–Edinburgh route is the East Coast Main Line. 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.
Willesden Junction is a National Rail station in Harlesden, north-west London, UK. It is served by both London Overground and London Underground services.
Wembley Central is an interchange station on the West Coast Main Line (WCML), London Overground and London Underground on the Watford DC line in Wembley, in north-west London, served by suburban services operated by London Underground and Arriva Rail London and regional services operated by London Northwestern Railway and Southern services. It is on the modest-sized east-west High Road. The station serves Wembley Stadium and the nearby Wembley Arena.
Harrow & Wealdstone is a railway station on the Watford DC line and West Coast Main Line in Harrow and Wealdstone in the London Borough of Harrow. It is 11 miles 30 chains (18.31 km) on the line from London Euston station, and it also the northern terminus of the Bakerloo line.
Crewe railway station is a railway station in Crewe, Cheshire, England. It opened in 1837 and is one of the most historically significant railway stations in the world.
Rugby railway station serves the town of Rugby in Warwickshire, England. It opened during the Victorian era, in 1885, replacing earlier stations situated a little further west. Since the closure of the former Rugby Central station on the now-abandoned Great Central Railway route through the town, it is Rugby's only station. Between 1950 and 1970 the station was known as Rugby Midland before reverting to its original title. The station underwent an extensive upgrade during 2006–2008, with extra platforms added, and a new ticket office and entrance building constructed, however the original Victorian part of the station was retained in the upgrade.
The West London line is a short railway in inner West London that links Clapham Junction in the south to Willesden Junction in the north. The line has always been an important cross-London link especially for freight services. Southern and London Overground provide regular passenger services; detailed below.
Imperial Wharf is a railway station located in Fulham in south-west London on the West London Line and in common with many stations has given rise to its own sub-district name Imperial Wharf, which is to some minds synonymous with Chelsea Harbour. The station is between West Brompton and Clapham Junction stations and services are provided by London Overground and Southern.
The Abbey Line, also called the St Albans Abbey branch line, is a railway line from Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey. The 6.5-mile (10.5 km) route passes through town and countryside in the county of Hertfordshire, just outside the boundaries of the Oyster Card and London fare zones. Its northern terminus in St Albans Abbey is located in the south of the city, around 1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi) away from the larger St Albans City railway station on the Midland Main Line.
Bletchley is a railway station that serves the southern parts of Milton Keynes, England, and the north-eastern parts of Aylesbury Vale. It is 47 miles (75 km) northwest of Euston, about 32 miles (51 km) east of Oxford and 17 miles (27 km) west of Bedford, and is one of the seven railway stations serving the Milton Keynes urban area.
Milton Keynes Central railway station serves Central Milton Keynes and the surrounding area of Milton Keynes, England. The station is located on the West Coast Main Line about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of London. The station is served by Avanti West Coast intercity services, and by West Midlands Trains and Southern regional services.
Wolverton railway station serves northern Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, especially Wolverton, Stony Stratford, New Bradwell, and nearby villages in the Borough of Milton Keynes and south Northamptonshire. The station is on the West Coast Main Line, about 52 miles (84 km) from Euston, between Milton Keynes Central and Northampton. The station is one of the seven stations serving the Milton Keynes urban area.
Leighton Buzzard railway station serves the towns of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade in the county of Bedfordshire and nearby areas of Buckinghamshire. Actually situated in Linslade, the station is 40 miles (64 km) north west of London Euston and is served by London Northwestern Railway services on the West Coast Main Line. Until the 1960s the station was the start of a branch to Dunstable and Luton, with a junction just north of the present station. The station has four platforms. Platforms 1 & 2 serve the fast lines and are used by Avanti West Coast services running non-stop to/from London Euston. Platforms 3 & 4 are served by slower London Northwestern railway services to/from London Euston and by Southern services between Clapham Junction and Milton Keynes Central.
Hemel Hempstead railway station is on the West Coast Main Line, on the western edge of the town of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England. The station is 24 1⁄2 miles (39.4 km) north-west of London Euston on the West Coast Main Line. Hemel Hempstead is managed by London Northwestern Railway and all train services are operated by London Northwestern Railway and Southern.
Berkhamsted railway station is in the town of Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England. It is located just beside Berkhamsted Castle, overlooking the Grand Junction Canal. The station is 28 miles (45 km) north west of London Euston on the West Coast Main Line. London Northwestern Railway operates services to London, Northampton and many other destinations.
Tring railway station is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) outside the small town of Tring, close to the Grand Union Canal but actually nearer to the village of Aldbury in Hertfordshire, England. Situated on the West Coast Main Line, the station is now an important marshalling point for commuter trains from here for most stations to London Euston.
Watford High Street is a railway station in Watford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. It is served by the Watford DC line on the London Overground network. It is the only station on the line's sole deviation from the West Coast Main Line.
Aylesbury railway station is a railway station in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England. It is a major stop on the London–Aylesbury line from London Marylebone via Amersham. It is 38 miles (61 km) from Aylesbury to Marylebone. A branch line from Princes Risborough on the Chiltern Main Line terminates at the station. It was the terminus for London Underground's Metropolitan line until the service was cut back to Amersham in 1961. The station was also known as Aylesbury Town under the management of British Railways from c. 1948 until the 1960s.
The Watford DC line is a commuter railway line from London Euston to Watford Junction in Watford, Hertfordshire. Its services are operated by London Overground.
North Watford is an area in the town of Watford, Hertfordshire, in the United Kingdom. It is primarily a residential area which developed as a result of expansion from the town during the 19th century.
If the Croxley Rail link gets the go ahead from Tfl and Hertfordshire County Council, direct services into Watford junction from Aylesbury will be likely...
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