Watford North railway station

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Watford North
National Rail
London Midland train at Watford North.jpg
LocationNorth Watford, Watford
Grid referenceTQ114986
Managed byLondon Northwestern Railway
Other information
Station codeWFN
ClassificationDfT category F2
OpenedOctober 1910
2015/16Increase 103,412
2016/17Increase 109,818
2017/18Decrease 101,716
2018/19Increase 106,268
2019/20Decrease 102,206
2020/21Decrease 14,274
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road
Abbey Line
St Albans Abbey
6 mi 45 ch
10.56 km
Park Street
5 mi 5 ch
8.15 km
How Wood
4 mi 37 ch
7.18 km
Bricket Wood
3 mi 37 ch
5.57 km
1 mi 63 ch
2.88 km
Watford North ABCL
Watford North
0 mi 75 ch
1.51 km
Watford Junction Watford DC Line
0 mi 15 ch
0.3 km
Watford South Junction
0 mi
0 km

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.

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).

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.

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 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.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "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. Archived from the original on 25 October 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.

Coordinates: 51°40′34″N 0°23′24″W / 51.676°N 0.390°W / 51.676; -0.390