Watford North railway station

Last updated

Watford North National Rail logo.svg
London Midland train at Watford North.jpg
Place North Watford
Local authority Watford
Grid reference TQ114986
Station codeWFN
Managed by London Northwestern Railway
Number of platforms1
DfT category F2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Increase2.svg 116,810
2014/15Decrease2.svg 92,518
2015/16Increase2.svg 103,412
2016/17Increase2.svg 109,818
2017/18Decrease2.svg 101,716
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Watford North from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
Abbey Line
BSicon KHSTa.svg
St Albans Abbey
6 mi 45 ch
10.56 km
BSicon eABZgl.svg
BSicon exCONTfq.svg
Hatfield & St Albans Railway
to Hatfield
BSicon HST.svg
Park Street
5 mi 05 ch
8.15 km
BSicon HST.svg
How Wood
4 mi 37 ch
7.18 km
BSicon SKRZ-Bo.svg
UK-Motorway-icon.svg M25
BSicon HST.svg
Bricket Wood
3 mi 37 ch
5.57 km
BSicon SKRZ-Bu.svg
UK-Motorway-icon.svg M1
BSicon HST.svg
1 mi 63 ch
2.88 km
BSicon BUE.svg
Watford North ABCL
BSicon HST.svg
Watford North
0 mi 75 ch
1.51 km
BSicon lCONTf4.svg
BSicon v-STR+4.svg
BSicon dSTR.svg
West Coast Main Line
to Rugby
BSicon dKBHFa-L.svg
BSicon dBHF-M.svg
BSicon dBHF-R.svg
Watford Junction Overground roundel (no text).svg
0 mi 15 ch
0.3 km
BSicon v-SHI2+l.svg
BSicon vUSTr.svg
BSicon dSHI2r.svg
0 mi 00 ch
0 km
BSicon ldCONTf@F.svg
BSicon dSTR.svg
BSicon ldCONTf@F.svg
BSicon dSTR.svg
BSicon d.svg

Watford North railway station is a National Rail station which serves the North Watford area in Hertfordshire, England in the United Kingdom. It is the first station on the Abbey Line, a single-track branch line which runs from Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey and is located approximately 34 mile (1.2 km) north east of Watford Junction. It is adjacent to a level crossing where the Abbey Line crosses Bushey Mill Lane.

National Rail (NR) in the United Kingdom is the trading name licensed for use by the Rail Delivery Group, an unincorporated association whose membership consists of the passenger train operating companies (TOCs) of England, Scotland, and Wales. The TOCs run the passenger services previously provided by the British Railways Board, from 1965 using the brand name British Rail. Northern Ireland, which is bordered by the Republic of Ireland, has a different system. National Rail services share a ticketing structure and inter-availability that generally do not extend to services which were not part of British Rail. The name and the accompanying double arrow symbol are trademarks of the Secretary of State for Transport.

North Watford

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.

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.


Watford North is one of three railway stations in the central Watford area and is operated as an unstaffed railway halt. The Abbey Line service is known locally as the "Abbey Flyer".


The branch line to St Albans was opened in 1858 by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). Watford North station opened 52 years later, in October 1910. Originally named Callowland, the station was built to serve a developing residential and industrial area which still thrives today. It was renamed Watford North in 1927. After the nationalisation of Britain's railways in 1948, the line was run by British Rail (from 1986 under its Network SouthEast brand).

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.

British Rail rail transport operator of Great Britain

British Railways (BR), which from 1965 traded as British Rail, was the state-owned company that operated most of the overground rail transport in Great Britain between 1948 and 1997. It was formed from the nationalisation of the "Big Four" British railway companies and lasted until the gradual privatisation of British Rail, in stages between 1994 and 1997. Originally a trading brand of the Railway Executive of the British Transport Commission, it became an independent statutory corporation in 1962 designated as the British Railways Board.

Network SouthEast former passenger sector of British Rail formed in 1982

Network SouthEast (NSE) was one of the three passenger sectors of British Rail formed in 1982. NSE principally operated commuter trains in the London area and inter-urban services in densely populated South East England, although the network reached as far west as Exeter. Before 1986, the sector was known as London & South Eastern.

As passenger and goods usage dwindled in the 1950s and 60s, the stations on the line were downgraded to unmanned halts. [1]

In 1963, Watford North and the Abbey line were threatened with closure as part of the Beeching cuts, but the line was kept in service. In 1995, a proposal was made to run a reduced service on the Abbey line with diesel trains instead of electric trains. An advocacy group, known as Abfly, was formed to campaign for the line to be maintained and continues to lobby for improvements to the service today. [1] [2] After the Privatisation of British Rail the franchise for the Abbey Line was taken over by National Express who ran the line under its Silverlink Metro name until November 2007, when Govia, operating as London Midland, took over the franchise.

Beeching cuts Project to close railway lines

The Beeching cuts were a reduction of route network and restructuring of the railways in Great Britain, according to a plan outlined in two reports, The Reshaping of British Railways (1963) and The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes (1965), written by Dr Richard Beeching and published by the British Railways Board.

Advocacy groups, also known as special interest groups, use various forms of advocacy in order to influence public opinion and ultimately policy. They play an important role in the development of political and social systems.

The Privatisation of British Rail was the process by which ownership and operation of the railways of Great Britain passed from government control into private hands. Begun in 1994, it had been completed by 1997. The deregulation of the industry was initiated by EU Directive 91/440 in 1991.

The Community Rail Partnership for the Abbey Line, established in 2005, works to improve the Abbey Line and inspects stations such as Watford North at least once a week. [3]


Currently there is a 45-minute service in both directions Monday to Saturday, hourly on Sundays. The railway is the quickest way to get between Watford and St Albans, taking only 16 minutes.

Preceding station National Rail logo.svg National Rail Following station
Watford Junction   London Northwestern Railway
Abbey Line


A number of possible changes to the line have been proposed, including new means of buying tickets, and the restoration of a passing loop at Bricket Wood, which would facilitate a 30-minute service.[ citation needed ]

Plans were announced in October 2009 for the line to be converted to light rail. [4] The line and stations were to be leased to Hertfordshire County Council who would run a tram-train service from Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey. [5] Longer-term proposals envisaged extension into St Albans city centre, possibly to St Albans City railway station. [6] It was estimated that the tram line would be in operation by 2012, [7] but the project was cancelled due to the complications and expense of transferring the line from National Rail to the county council. [8] For the foreseeable future, Watford North will continue to be served by heavy rail trains.

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Watford Town & Borough in England

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

Watford Junction railway station railway station that serves Watford, Hertfordshire

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St Albans Abbey railway station railway station in Hertfordshire, England

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Abbey Line railway line from Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey, England

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.

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St Albans City railway station railway station in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England

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Park Street railway station (England) railway station in Hertfordshire, England

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Garston railway station (Hertfordshire) rail station in England

Garston railway station serves the Garston area of Watford in Hertfordshire, England. It is the third station on the Abbey Line after Watford Junction and Watford North. The station and all trains serving it are operated by London Northwestern Railway.

Bricket Wood railway station

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Alban Way

The Alban Way is a cycle path in Hertfordshire, England, that has been constructed along the route of the former Hatfield to St Albans railway line. It runs from St Albans, close to St Albans Abbey railway station and the site of Roman Verulamium, through Fleetville and Smallford to Hatfield, ending close to Hatfield railway station. It is 7.5 miles (12.1 km) long.

Croxley Rail Link plan to re-route part of a London Underground line

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Hatfield and St Albans Railway

The Hatfield & St Albans Railway was a branch of the Great Northern Railway which connected the Hertfordshire towns of St Albans and Hatfield. It opened in 1865 with the principal aim of allowing St Albans traffic to access the Great Northern's main line to London at Hatfield, but soon came into difficulties when the Midland Railway inaugurated a direct route to London through St Albans. Passenger receipts declined in the 1930s, resulting in the temporary withdrawal of services in 1939. Passenger services were permanently withdrawn in 1951, leaving goods traffic to linger on until December 1968. Much of the route of the line is now incorporated into the Alban Way, a footpath and cycleway.

National Cycle Route 61 is part of theNational Cycle Network managed by the charity Sustrans. It runs for 34 miles from Maidenhead (Berkshire) to Rye House (Hertfordshire) via Uxbridge, Watford, St Albans, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City and Hertford in the United Kingdom.


  1. 1 2 "Watford North Station". North Watford History Group. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  2. "ABFLY". Abbey Flyer Users' Group.
  3. "The Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership" . Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  4. Skinner, Neil (30 October 2009). "Abbey Flyer railway line to be converted into tram system". Watford Observer. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  5. "DfT Press Release Watford and St Albans passengers on track for new tram service". 30 October 2009. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012.
  6. "St Albans Abbey tram-train announced". Railway Gazette. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2009.
  7. Skinner, Neil (3 November 2010). "Watford to St ALbans tram link could open in 2012". Watford Observer. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  8. "Abbey Line Light Rail Proposals". Hertfordshire County Council. Retrieved 20 August 2013.

Coordinates: 51°40′34″N0°23′24″W / 51.676°N 0.390°W / 51.676; -0.390