New Tube link with Abbey Flyer for St Albans

PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 April 2015

Watford Vicarge Road station

Watford Vicarge Road station

Image provided

The Tube is to be extended closer to St Albans after London Underground (LU) confirmed work would start later this year to re-route and extend the Metropolitan line from Croxley to Watford Junction.

Cassiobridge front viewCassiobridge front view

It will mean much easier access to the underground for passengers using the Abbey Flyer which runs between St Albans and Watford Junction.

Until recently, the Croxley Rail link project had been managed by Herts county council.

But with the project suffering delays since 2011, London Mayor Boris Johnson said he was concerned about delivery of the extension and ordered Transport for London to take over responsibility from the county council.

Four years ago, the scheme was estimated to cost £116.84 million but because of delays, that figure has now escalated to £284 million.

Last Friday (27) LU confirmed agreement had been reached with the county council and Department for Transport over funding.

The county council will provide £30.5 million, with Herts Local Enterprise Partnership giving £88m and Watford Council £9.6m.

The Department for Transport will give £109.8m, with LU providing the remaining £46.5m.

Two new stations will be created at Cassiobridge and Watford Vicarage Road, served by new air-conditioned trains every 10 minutes to and from central London during peak hours.

The existing Watford station on the Metropolitan line will close following the opening of the new stations and the first trains are expected to run on the extended line by 2019.

David Hughes, LU’s director of major programme sponsorship, said: “Until now the project has been managed by the council. Late last year, faced with significant project slippage and cost escalation, the government asked us to consider stepping in and taking over responsibility for delivery of the scheme.

“We were clear that suitable funding needed to be in place before we would take this on.”

County councillor for St Albans South Sandy Walkington said once completed, the extension of the Metropolitan line should prompt a re-think of the Abbey Line’s timetable, with more frequent rail services between the city and Watford Junction.

Rob Smith, the council’s deputy director of environment, said: “Not only will this rail link improve accessibility between Watford and central London, but it also has the potential to signficantly boost economic development in the region.”

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