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Article date 31 March 2010
Latest revision 14 January 2015

Public consultation on the future of the Abbey line from Watford to St Albans

The Department for Transport has undertaken a public consultation on the Abbey line i.e. the line from Watford to St Albans with a view to running light rail (trams) in place of the existing "heavy rail" train service. The consultation ran until 31 March 2010.

Details of the Department for Transport consultation on the Abbey line can (or could) be found at Abbey line Consultation

Hertfordshire County Council provides a webpage documenting the Abbey Line Light Rail Proposals from their perspective. The web page listing their newsletters can (or could) be found at HCC proposals for the Abbey Line

St Albans Rail and the proposal for light rail on the Abbey line

St Albans Rail responded to the consultation in March 2010. At that time, we were proposing an Orbital railway round London with the Abbey line incorporated into it and this was reflected in our consultation response. This Orbital railway ran from Watford on the proposed Croxley rail link to Rickmansworth, Beaconsfield East, Bourne End, Maidenhead, Camberley, Guildford then continuing on lines that are in existence today. However, since then, proposals have been developed for a second High Speed railway line and these have an impact on how the conventional rail network might develop. A line from High Speed 2 to Heathrow is anticipated. There is a proposal for a line from Heathrow to Staines by BAA known as Airtrack. It is therefore unlikely that an Orbital railway round London would run via Maidenhead nor via Watford. A route via Heathrow would seem more likely.

Our response to the Abbey line consultation (later in this article) is now rather dated. It assumed that Bricket Wood is the busiest intermediary station. References to services stopping at intermediate stations no more frequently than once an hour as a consequence or Orbital scheduling algorithms are out of date and no longer apply.

A discussion concerning a possible station stop at London Colney on the Midland Main Line was, we understand, initiated by a local council but was not taken further by railway planning authorities.

To repeat, our consultation response is now rather dated. We do however have specific current proposals for rail services using the Abbey line and these are included in our article : New rail services .

Here is the Department for Transport consultation document : The Future of the Abbey Line PDF (455 Kb)

Here is the St Albans Rail response to the Abbey line consultation : Abbey line Consultation Response PDF (107 Kb)

Here is the Department for Transport consultation report : The Future of the Abbey Line Consultation Report PDF (194 Kb)