Tram service promised for St Albans to Watford Abbey Flyer rail link

Watford Observer: Watford MP Claire Ward with Lord Andrew Adonis (centre) - secretary of state for transport and Councillor Robert Gordon. Watford MP Claire Ward with Lord Andrew Adonis (centre) - secretary of state for transport and Councillor Robert Gordon.

THE Abbey Flyer line, which links Watford Junction with St Albans Abbey, is to be converted from a branch railway into a tram system, the Secretary of State for Transport Andrew Adonis will announce this morning.

The Department of Transport was tight-lipped about details before the official announcement but says the new scheme will offer a more regular and frequent service, possibly as many as three trams an hour rather than one train every 45 minutes as at present.

Provided the project gets through a 12-week consultation, ownership of the line will transfer from Network Rail to Hertfordshire County Council, which will tender for a contractor to run the service.

Watford MP Claire Ward said: “I welcome this good news for the community.

“The Abbey Flyer is going to be put on a firmer footing, and there will be better services.

“It is good news, both for Watford and for people who commute from St Albans to London.”

Hassana Chabraoui, of St Albans, said: “I use it quite a bit to go shoppping in Watford – often you can be waiting for half an hour. I hope this means it will be quicker and faster.

Natalie Cakar, 14, said: “I use it once or twice a week to go from Watford Junction to Garston.

“This sounds like good news – I have used trams in other places and they are usually a good way of getting about.

“But how long is it going to take to build? And what is going to happen to the trains while the tram system is being put in place?”

Catherine Dillon said: “I use these trains quite often from Watford Junction to go shopping in Bricket Wood or St Albans. There definitely aren't enough services at the moment so I often have quite a wait.”

Comments (7)

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10:34am Fri 30 Oct 09

busker999 says...

As County Councillor for Callowland/Leggatts, this is an excellent announcement and something we have been campaigning for for quite sometime. This unlocks the possibility of extending this line further, possibly into the town centre and further across Hertfordshire. I am told the line will be out for a week to allow the new service to be brought in. However, a consultation needs to take place first to make sure residents are happy with the idea. The great thing is, no new money is required for this change.
As County Councillor for Callowland/Leggatts, this is an excellent announcement and something we have been campaigning for for quite sometime. This unlocks the possibility of extending this line further, possibly into the town centre and further across Hertfordshire. I am told the line will be out for a week to allow the new service to be brought in. However, a consultation needs to take place first to make sure residents are happy with the idea. The great thing is, no new money is required for this change. busker999
  • Score: 0

11:41am Fri 30 Oct 09

rob_s_smith says...

I think this is good news as the St Albans - Watford line is a really underused asset. The current level of service doesnt make it attractive to commuters and there are no late evening services.

However I think this proposal has been made before and dropped. Tram systems are usually expensive to implement, it might be more effective to put in a passing loop on the existing service to double the frequency of the trains. I would have thought a tram system would need a new signal system and a new power supply, I doubt very much if these could be put in with just a weeks downtime to the existing service. Id be delighted to be proved wrong though.
I think this is good news as the St Albans - Watford line is a really underused asset. The current level of service doesnt make it attractive to commuters and there are no late evening services. However I think this proposal has been made before and dropped. Tram systems are usually expensive to implement, it might be more effective to put in a passing loop on the existing service to double the frequency of the trains. I would have thought a tram system would need a new signal system and a new power supply, I doubt very much if these could be put in with just a weeks downtime to the existing service. Id be delighted to be proved wrong though. rob_s_smith
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Fri 30 Oct 09

shalvey says...

Catherine Dillon said: “I use these trains quite often from Watford Junction to go shopping in Bricket Wood or St Albans. There definitely aren't enough services at the moment so I often have quite a wait.”

Big shopping centre in Bricket Wood is there?
Catherine Dillon said: “I use these trains quite often from Watford Junction to go shopping in Bricket Wood or St Albans. There definitely aren't enough services at the moment so I often have quite a wait.” Big shopping centre in Bricket Wood is there? shalvey
  • Score: 0

1:16pm Fri 30 Oct 09

Andrew1963 says...

To really make best use of the service, will need through ticketing system so you can buy a Euston destination or a Travelcard. Perhaps the specification should include the use of the London Oyster card. A straight conversion using new lighter rolling stock on the existing power supply would be relatively quick and easy. A tram could use a simple traffic light system using transponders. If overall the system costs no more in public subsidy it could be a model that could be extended to other routes.
To really make best use of the service, will need through ticketing system so you can buy a Euston destination or a Travelcard. Perhaps the specification should include the use of the London Oyster card. A straight conversion using new lighter rolling stock on the existing power supply would be relatively quick and easy. A tram could use a simple traffic light system using transponders. If overall the system costs no more in public subsidy it could be a model that could be extended to other routes. Andrew1963
  • Score: 0

1:24pm Fri 30 Oct 09

shalvey says...

busker999 wrote:
As County Councillor for Callowland/Leggatts, this is an excellent announcement and something we have been campaigning for for quite sometime. This unlocks the possibility of extending this line further, possibly into the town centre and further across Hertfordshire. I am told the line will be out for a week to allow the new service to be brought in. However, a consultation needs to take place first to make sure residents are happy with the idea. The great thing is, no new money is required for this change.
Shouldn't take a week!
They have 8 hours every night to get every thing ready!
[quote][p][bold]busker999[/bold] wrote: As County Councillor for Callowland/Leggatts, this is an excellent announcement and something we have been campaigning for for quite sometime. This unlocks the possibility of extending this line further, possibly into the town centre and further across Hertfordshire. I am told the line will be out for a week to allow the new service to be brought in. However, a consultation needs to take place first to make sure residents are happy with the idea. The great thing is, no new money is required for this change.[/p][/quote]Shouldn't take a week! They have 8 hours every night to get every thing ready! shalvey
  • Score: 0

1:10am Sat 31 Oct 09

Gary_B says...

I hope this works. If Helioslough get their way, this might be the only way you will be able to travel between St Albans & Bricket Wood.
I hope this works. If Helioslough get their way, this might be the only way you will be able to travel between St Albans & Bricket Wood. Gary_B
  • Score: 0

10:27pm Sat 31 Oct 09

shalvey says...

Gary_B wrote:
I hope this works. If Helioslough get their way, this might be the only way you will be able to travel between St Albans & Bricket Wood.
Wrong line?
[quote][p][bold]Gary_B[/bold] wrote: I hope this works. If Helioslough get their way, this might be the only way you will be able to travel between St Albans & Bricket Wood.[/p][/quote]Wrong line? shalvey
  • Score: 0

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