A county council says the new HS2 rail-link should provide long-term benefits for commuters travelling through Watford.

Hertfordshire County Council welcomed the green signal to give the controversial high-speed rail line the go-ahead, which was announced by the Government in the House of Commons earlier this week.

HS2 will not stop in the county, but the county council says there is an opportunity to create new train services on the existing main line for commuters using stations such as Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead and Tring.

This is because non-stop trains will be moved onto the high-speed line, according to the county council.

It says this will be “good news” for commuters, with the county council seeking better connections between Watford Junction and cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

Derrick Ashley, cabinet member for growth, infrastructure, planning and the economy, said: “The go ahead for High Speed 2 is an important vote of confidence for the value of rail transport to the nation’s economy.

“Now that the scheme has been given the green light, I urge the Government to move swiftly in determining how the freed-up capacity can be best used to support economic growth in Hertfordshire.

“The needs of Hertfordshire rail users also need to be considered in the ten years before High Speed 2 opens to passengers.

“We are currently calling for the London to Liverpool intercity service to stop at Watford Junction in order to open up new travel opportunities, particularly for business users.”

Approval for HS2 coincides with a public consultation on the county council’s own Rail Strategy.

It says this sets out a vision for improving rail services, including boosting Watford Junction’s role as a major rail hub.