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.”