The Government’s transport minister praised London Midland on a "huge improvement" during a visit to Watford.

Secretary of state Patrick Mcloughlin said the struggling rail company, which runs trains from Watford Junction, Bushey, and Kings Langley, was getting up to scratch.

He said: "London Midland had some problems. Obviously there were complaints and travelling problems.

"They have made a huge improvement.

"We told them to get up to scratch and that they were on probation and they have made an effort to improve."

Mr Mcloughlin was invited to Watford by MP Richard Harrington yesterday to see Watford Junction and discuss problems with the service.

Investment of more than £80million is already set to take place to reduce the most common causes of delays on overground trains.

Plans include a complete re-signalling between Kings Langley and Bushey, replacement of 12 miles of track and new overhead power lines in Watford - including at Orphanage Road Bridge - allowing for future speeds of up to 125mph.

Mr Harrington said the infrastructure should help out London Midland.

London Midland has been criticised since it finished the £1.3 million redesign of the station last year.

The revamp saw the station’s drop-off bays being removed from the Station Road entrance and a new short stay car park created off Woodford Road.

However, the new arrangement has seen drivers dumping passengers off in front of the station in moving traffic rather than using the new car park.

The redesign also saw the taxi rank removed from the front of the station so it could be pedestrianised and repositioned along the access road to the station’s car park.

The beleaguered company announced last month it is due to axe about 150 jobs to cope with rising costs.

Mr Harrington lobbied for investment into the Abbey Line during the visit, stating that there should be increased frequency of service for north Watford residents - and that this should be a key part of any negotiation for the franchise in the future.

He added the new Croxley Rail Link, to be built at Ascot Road, will help ease London Midland services.

He said: "This is an incredibly important scheme for Watford as a whole in terms of our local economy and improved transport links.

"Whilst this will of course hugely benefit residents in central and West Watford, residents of areas such as Oxhey, Tudor and Garston will also benefit as the Metropolitan Line will in future link with Watford Junction and Watford High Street where people can change from overground services - making London much more accessible for those residents too and giving them an alternative to London Midland services when they need it."