Tram trains for St Albans branch?

Sunday, November 1 2009


St Albans branch line in 1904. Note the connecting line to the Midland Railway.
Map Bacon’s Popular Atlas 1904, via Genealogy in Hertfordshire.

Plans for a more frequent service on the 6 ½ mile long Watford Junction-St Alban’s branch line were announced on Friday 30 November by Secretary of State for Transport Lord Adonis and Hertfordshire County Council.

The proposed improvements would enable passengers to travel between St Albans and Watford on a regular half-hourly tram and allow for the possibility of an even greater frequency of three trams per hour. The trams would replace the existing train service link, which currently operates on an irregular schedule with just one train every 45 minutes, providing a better service for around 450,000 passengers a year who currently use it.

Under the changes, which will now be subject to a 12 week DfT consultation, responsibility for the line would transfer from Network Rail to Hertfordshire Country Council, which would then put the service out to tender. Work by transport consultants Mott MacDonald working on behalf of Hertfordshire County Council has demonstrated that using light weight rail vehicles ought to allow a more frequent service to be provided within the funding currently used for the current service.

Depending on the outcome of the consultation and the completion of legal and contractual issues, the new service could be up and running in 2011. The new service is also dependant on Network Rail agreeing to transfer control of the line and stations to Hertfordshire County Council on a long-term lease.


One comment

  1. Connecting line to the Midland Railway – that’s a new one on me. Unleashing imagination: in 1904, if one were crazy enough, one could have run a special train from Hatfield on the Great Northern main line, to Bedford on the Midland ditto – not, sensibly, via Hitchin; but over the GN branch to St. Albans LNWR station (reverse); along the LNW line as far as Park Street (reverse); thence northwards and onto the Midland main line. I gather that 1904 was a bit before the time of railtours run specifically for track-bashers…

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