When a father-of-three discovered an “ambitious” rail project in Watford would lead to the closure of his local station, he was “surprised and horrified”.

An online petition to Save Watford Met Station, launched by Lester Wagman, now has about 850 signatures supporting the retention of its service, despite plans for the Croxley Rail Link one step from Government backing.

The Croxley Rail Link would see the London Underground Metropolitan line leave Croxley station and, instead of continuing to Watford, pass through West Watford and join Watford High Street and Watford Junction mainline stations.

It would bring back into use the disused Croxley Green Branch Line track and lead to the construction of two new stations - Ascot Road and “Watford Hospital”.

In February this year, the Watford Observer reported the scheme was now one of 23 travel projects being considered for funding from the Department of Transport.

A final decision is due later this year and if approved, it would be expected to open in 2015.

Lester, who travels to work in central London from Watford Met station every day, said: “People generally didn’t know the Croxley Rail Link meant the closure of the Watford Met station. I only found this out when there was a piece in the Watford Observer in February about it had been shortlisted for funding by the Government.

“I thought I should find out more and when I saw the plan that showed Watford Met closing, I was surprised and horrified.

“I’m trying to raise local awareness about what this means.”

Lester, 46, has leafleted hundreds of homes in the area surrounding the station and set up the petition.

“My main concern is the families of children who attend Watford Grammar School for Boys. At the moment, if you turn up at the station at 8am, there will be hundreds of kids who travel from north-west London. They all go to the station.

“Also there are Rickmansworth School pupils from Cassiobury who travel in the other direction. If the replacement station is in Ascot Road, they will have to walk along Rickmansworth Road and cross it at some point, which is going to take them 20 minutes. It’s going to be a road safety nightmare.”

Lester, from Shepherd Road, added: “I don’t think it’s very well thought out. The scheme is too ambitious.”

Watford MP Richard Harrington has now called for a meeting with Transport Minister Norman Baker after a questionnaire he conducted with rail users found “overwhelming support” to keep the station open.

“There’s a possibility it will continue as an extension of the Metropolitan line as it is now,” he said, “particularly because the case for London Underground is they need somewhere to store trains at night anyway and that’s an ideal place for it, which would help to facilitate the station staying open.”

To view the petition, visit www.gopetition.com/petition/42760/signatures.html.