When work starts on the Croxley Rail Link to extend the Metropolitan underground line from Croxley Green to Watford town centre it will be resurrecting a historic route dating back to the turn of the 20th Century.
In July 1862, Lord Ebury built a four-and-a-half mile track between Watford Junction and Rickmansworth, and a short branch to Croxley Green was added in 1912.
The railway suffered from a lack of business when a direct service to London was provided by the extension of the Metropolitan line to Watford in 1925.
Watford’s new station was supposed to be built in the High Street, and a station office was constructed opposite the junction with Clarendon Road.
It was used as a furniture shop in the 1950s and is now The Moon Under Water pub.
However, the town centre link would have required construction work in Cassiobury Park, and the Earl of Essex, who owned the land at the time, refused permission.
By 1960, the Metropolitan Line had all but seen off Lord Ebury’s railway, with only a peak service on the Croxley Green Branch, which was reduced to a 7am weekday return to Watford Junction.
The new A412, built in 1996, cut the length of a car journey between Croxley Green and Watford, and was the final nail in the coffin for the Croxley Green Branch Line, which was shut in 2002.
A scheme to connect the two has been in discussion since at least the 1980s.
The rail link will connect the Metropolitan Line to the old railway by building a viaduct over the very road which eventually saw it off, the A412.
The new project will draw on the advantages of both railways, the direct link into Watford provided by the branch line with the higher traffic of the Metropolitan Line.
A new station in West Watford will replace the service from the existing Watford Met station.