Watford Junction railway station

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Watford Junction National Rail London Overground
Watford Junction stn entrance.JPG
Station entrance
Watford Junction is located in Hertfordshire
Watford Junction
Watford Junction
Location of Watford Junction in Hertfordshire
Location Watford
Local authority Watford
Managed by London Midland
Owner Network Rail
Station code WFJ
DfT category B
Number of platforms 10
Accessible Yes [1]
Fare zone W
National Rail annual entry and exit
2007–08 Decrease 4.445 million[2]
— interchange 0.549 million[2]
2008–09 Decrease 3.558 million[2]
— interchange Decrease 0.451 million[2]
2009–10 Increase 3.564 million[2]
— interchange Decrease 0.363 million[2]
2010–11 Increase 4.822 million[2]
— interchange Increase 0.411 million[2]
2011–12 Increase 5.184 million[2]
— interchange Increase 0.539 million[2]
2012–13 Increase 6.092 million[2]
— interchange Increase 0.545 million[2]
Key dates
20 July 1837 Original station - Watford - opened.[3]
5 May 1858 Station relocated and renamed as Watford Junction[3]
1909 Rebuilt
1980s Refurbished throughout
Other information
Lists of stations
External links
Portal icon London Transport portal
Portal icon UK Railways portalCoordinates: 51°39′49″N 0°23′45″W / 51.6635°N 0.3958°W / 51.6635; -0.3958

Watford Junction railway station, a short distance from the town centre of Watford, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, is served by the West Coast Main Line (WCML), the Watford DC Line to Euston, and the Abbey Line (a branch line to St Albans). Journeys to London take between sixteen and fifty-two minutes depending on the service used. Trains also run to East Croydon via the WCML and the West London Line and Clapham Junction. Major 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.

History[edit]

The first station in Watford was north of St Albans Road. Watford Junction station opened when the line to St Albans opened, joining the main line south of St Albans Road, on 5 May 1858. The station was rebuilt in 1909, and was extensively redeveloped in the 1980s.

Trains used to run from the west side of the station to branches serving Croxley Green and Rickmansworth (Church Street), both branches were electrified later than the DC line to Euston but on the same system. At one time tube trains were used to counter the low voltage caused by the lack of a sub-station near Rickmansworth. The Rickmansworth branch predated the DC line and 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 DC line terminus.

The Abbey Line originally terminated at a through platform adjacent to the Up Slow Main Line but was relocated further East to provide more car parking; this was before the branch line was electrified.

The Bakerloo line was extended to Watford Junction in 1917, giving a shared service with mainline electric trains which served Euston and Broad Street stations. However, since 1982[4] 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.

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.

Watford Locomotive Depot 27 January 1951.

Motive power depot[edit]

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.[5]

1954 accident[edit]

Watford Junction derailment
Details
Date 3 February 1954
Location Watford Junction railway station
Country England
Rail line West Coast Main Line
Operator British Railways
Type of incident Derailment
Cause Broken rail
Statistics
Trains 2
Injuries 15
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.[6]

1975 accident[edit]

Watford Junction rail crash
Details
Date 23 January 1975
Time 23:30
Location Watford Junction railway station
Country England
Rail line West Coast Main Line
Operator British Rail
Cause Obstruction on line
Statistics
Trains 2
Deaths 1
Injuries 11
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.[7]

Redevelopment[edit]

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.[8]

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 Midland are considering revising the design.[9]

Services[edit]

Map of railways around Watford town centre

Watford Junction is under the management of London Midland, who took over from the now defunct Silverlink Trains. London Midland and Silverlink maintained a Traincrew Depot at Watford and stabled trains around the station. There are a number of sidings near the end of platform 11 which are used for storing units as well as rail freight. All platforms except 1 to 4 are electrified by 25K AC overhead lines, platforms 1 – 4 & 6 have DC electrified conductor rails.

The station is staffed by dispatch staff for London Midland; London Overground also maintain a Traincrew Depot here. Overground use only platforms 1-4 but also have a link onto platform 6 to be used for stock movements via the mainline towards London Euston

Off peak weekday service in trains per hour is:

  • Southern using Class 377 Electrostars in four-coach formation:
    • 1 to Milton Keynes, calling at Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley, and Milton Keynes from platform 8.
    • 1 to South Croydon, calling at Harrow & Wealdstone, Wembley Central, Shepherds Bush, Kensington Olympia, West Brompton, Imperial Wharf, Clapham Junction, Wandsworth Common, Balham, Streatham Common, Norbury, Thornton Heath, Selhurst, East Croydon and South Croydon from platforms 9 or 10.
  • London Overground using Class 378 Capitalstars, in four-coach formation:
  • London Midland:
    • 2 to London Euston, calling at Bushey, Harrow & Wealdstone & London Euston from platform 9.
    • 3 non-stop to London Euston from platforms 7 or 9.
    • 2 to Tring, calling at Kings Langley, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, and Tring from platform 8.
    • 1 to Birmingham New Street, calling at Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, Wolverton, Northampton, Long Buckby, Rugby, Coventry, Tile Hill, Hampton-in-Arden, Birmingham International, Marston Green, and Birmingham New Street from platform 8.
    • 1 to Milton Keynes, calling at Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Tring, Cheddington, Leighton Buzzard, Bletchley, and Milton Keynes from platform 8.
    • Operated by Class 350 Desiros, and are usually formed of four, eight or twelve coaches. Tring Services are occasionally formed of eight car class 321s.
    • 1 train every 45 minutes to St Albans Abbey, calling at Watford North, Garston, Bricket Wood, How Wood, Park Street, and St Albans Abbey from platform 11
      • Always operated by a four car class 321

Virgin Trains also operate at this station with one train per hour northbound to Birmingham New Street with peak services extended to Wolverhampton. These services also stop on returning southbound but for set-down only. Weekday peak mornings and peak evenings Virgin also provide services to/from Liverpool Lime St, Glasgow Central, Preston and Manchester Piccadilly, and one service Saturday morning to Holyhead.

Preceding station   Overground notextroundel.svg National Rail logo.svg London Overground   Following station
Terminus Watford DC Line
towards Euston
National Rail National Rail
London Euston   First ScotRail
Highland Caledonian Sleeper
(northbound only)
  Crewe
Carlisle   First ScotRail
Lowland Caledonian Sleeper
  London Euston
Milton Keynes Central   London Midland
London - Crewe
  London Euston
Kings Langley   London Midland
West Coast Main Line
  Bushey
Watford North   London Midland
Abbey Line
  Terminus
Southern
Milton Keynes - South Croydon
Milton Keynes Central
or
Rugby
or
Coventry
  Virgin Trains
West Coast Main Line
  London Euston
Historical railways
Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
Terminus Bakerloo line
(1917-1982)
National Rail National Rail
Terminus   British Rail
Rickmansworth Branch
  Watford High Street
Terminus   Network SouthEast
Croxley Green Branch
  Watford High Street
  Future Route  
Preceding station   Underground no-text.svg London Underground   Following station
Terminus Metropolitan line
towards Baker Street or Aldgate

Platforms[edit]

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

Platform Usage:

  • Platforms 1-4: Bay platforms for the three trains per hour London Overground Service (Watford DC Line) to London Euston calling at all stations
  • Platform 6: For the hourly Virgin trains service to Birmingham New Street and fast London Midland services northbound.
  • Platform 7: For fast London Midland services to London Euston and Virgin services only to set down.
  • Platform 8: For slow and semi-fast London Midland services northbound and Southern services to Milton Keynes usually from East Croydon or South Croydon and a few from Clapham Junction, Balham and Kensington Olympia
  • Platform 9: For slow, semi-fast and fast London Midland services to London Euston, and Southern services to East Croydon or South Croydon and a few services to Kensington Olympia, Balham and Clapham Junction.
  • Platform 10: For terminating Southern services to and from Kensington Olympia and Clapham Junction early morning and late evening on weekdays and on Sundays. There are a few terminating services to and from East Croydon, Balham, South Croydon and Brighton on weekdays. London Midland operate 2 trains at 07:55 and 08:15 to London Euston in the morning, whilst one train terminates from London Euston at 17:55
  • Platform 11: Used for the service every 45 minutes to St Albans Abbey. It is limited to four coaches.

Connections[edit]

London Buses Routes 142, 258 and Non London Bus Routes W7, W9, and 5, 6A, 6D, 8, 10, 41, 80, GE3, R8, W1, W2, W20 and W19.

Green Line 724 stops in the station forecourt. It runs directly to St Albans and Harlow from Stop 2 and Heathrow Terminal 5 via Heathrow Central and Rickmansworth station from stops 5/6.


Future developments[edit]

Outline map of the changes to be brought about by the Croxley Rail Link (2017)

Watford Junction station area improvements[edit]

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.[10]

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.[11]

Croxley Rail Link[edit]

Main article: Croxley Rail Link

The planned Croxley Rail Link, currently under construction, will divert the Metropolitan line's Watford branch via the disused Croxley Green branch to terminate at Watford Junction. It is expected to open to passenger service in 2017.[12]

Abbey Line tram[edit]

On 30 October 2009 the then Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis) announced a plan for Hertfordshire County Council to lease the Abbey Line from Network Rail and for the line to be operated using tram-train vehicles.[13] If the plan had proceeded, light rail services would have run from Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey from 2011 with possible extensions into St Albans city centre with on-street running, possibly as far as St Albans City railway station, and the possible re-instatement of the line to Hatfield.[14] The plans were formally dropped in 2013 [15]

Proposed developments[edit]

Outline map of the possible future Crossrail extensions as recommended in the 2011 RUS[16]

West London Line improvement[edit]

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.[17]

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 limited service forms the only link between the Watford Junction and Kensington Olympia corridors. This proposal suggests increasing West London Line – Watford Junction peak service to two tph, increasing present services to every 30 minutes as well as suggesting extending Southern trains from 4 car to 8 car to help ease over-crowding further.[17]

Crossrail[edit]

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 or Milton Keynes identified as potential termini.[16] 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 Mainline. 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 west, 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.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "London and South East" (pdf). National Rail Enquiries. National Rail. September 2006. Archived from the original on 6 March 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Station usage estimates". Rail statistics. Office of Rail Regulation.  Please note: Some methodology may vary year on year.
  3. ^ a b Butt (1995), page 242
  4. ^ "Bakerloo Line Facts". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 2 May 2007. 
  5. ^ Griffiths, Roger; Smith, Paul (1999). The directory of British engine Sheds and Principal Locomotive Servicing Points: 1. Oxford: Oxford Publishing Co. p. 106. ISBN 0-86093-542-6. 
  6. ^ Earnshaw, Alan (1991). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 7. Penryn: Atlantic Books. p. 34. ISBN 0-906899-50-8. 
  7. ^ McNaughton, Lt Col I K A (16 July 1975). "Report on the Derailment near Watford Junction" (PDF). HMSO. Archived from the original on 20 August 2008. 
  8. ^ "Railway". Watford Junction community website. Watford Museum. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Wright, Mike (27 January 2014). "London Midland to rethink Watford Junction revamp after drop-off zone complaints". Watford Observer. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "4.3 Watford Junction Area". Watford Borough Council. Retrieved 25 November 2008. [dead link]
  11. ^ Local Transport Today, Issue 557, Page 7
  12. ^ "Croxley Rail Link". Transport for London. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. 
  13. ^ "DfT Press Release Watford and St Albans passengers on track for new tram service". 30 October 2009. [dead link]
  14. ^ "St Albans Abbey tram-train announced". Railway Gazette. 30 October 2009. Archived from the original on 3 November 2009. 
  15. ^ "St Albans light rail conversion plan dropped". Railway Gazette. 26 August 2013. Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "8.3 Gap K – maximising the benefits of the central London Crossrail tunnels" (PDF). "London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy Draft for Consultation". Network Rail. December 2010 – July 2011. p. 140. Archived from the original on 27 November 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "7.12 Gap I: Orbital routes" (PDF). "London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy Draft for Consultation". Network Rail. December 2010 – July 2011. p. 140. Archived from the original on 27 November 2011. 
  18. ^ Topham, Gwyn (7 August 2014). "New Crossrail route mooted from Hertfordshire into London". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 

Sources[edit]

  • Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0508-1. OCLC 60251199. 
  • Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0086-1. OCLC 22311137. 

External links[edit]