CROXLEY GREEN - WATFORD HIGH STREET (Pt.6)

(1912 - 1996)

This branch line was opened by the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) to provide competition with the Metropolitan line, whose influence was in the ascendancy in north-west London. The line branched off the ill-fated Watford - Rickmansworth line, opened originally by the Watford and Rickmansworth Railway (and which was absorbed into the LNWR only nineteen years after opening).

The main Rickmansworth line was closed to passengers in 1952, its demise caused by a familiar pattern of more direct and cheaper services elsewhere. The Croxley Green branch somehow survived Beeching's axe but attempts to create more traffic by providing more frequent services failed. The line was closed unofficially in 1996 when a new dual carriageway cut through the line and a new replacement bridge was deemed as not being financially viable. Formal closure was passed in 2002, albeit with the long-term intention of the line being taken over by the Metropolitan Line.

So, a line that was built originally in competition with the Metropolitan Line is destined to be taken over by it and will owe its continuted existence to it. Long delayed plans have now been authorised that will see the Metropolitan divert away from its current (and remote) Watford terminus and run over the Croxley Green branch to Watford Junction.

The detailed plans are contained in this excellent site: www.croxleyraillink.com from which much information contained here is sourced from.

Curiously, none of the three stations on the Croxley Green branch will be retained; they will be replaced by two stations in different locations along the line. Thus although the majority of the line is due to be reinstated, these webpages will remain as testament to its former stations.

 


 

WIGGENHALL ROAD - WATFORD HIGH STREET 

 

 

 

 

The junction where the Croxley Green (and Rickmansworth) branch joined onto the existing loop line between Bushey & Oxhey and Watford Junction, just south of Watford High Street station (the line that diverts away and then rejoins the main line from Euston). As seen here, the connection was still intact though it had been removed by Oct 2005. Photo taken from Wiggenhall Road bridge, as seen in the photos below.

(photo: 2003)

 

 

 


The track beneath Wiggenhall Road bridge, looking east toward the Watford direction. The former connection with what is now the Overground line between Euston and Watford Junction, is just beyond the bridge.

(photo: 2009)
© 2009. Stephen Golding

 

 

 

View in the opposite direction from beneath Wiggenhall Road bridge.

(photo: July 2013)

 

 

 

Looking in the same direction but further away from the Croxley direction, showing Wiggenhall Road bridge from the eastern side.

(photo: July 2013)

 

 

 

Rotated 180° again, now looking in the Watford direction and the junction area of the Croxley Green branch. This junction will be reinstated when the Metropolitan Line takes over the Croxley Green branch.

(photo: July 2013)

 

 

 

The existing Watford Junction to Euston slow line (now under the banner of London Overground) is on the left, looking in the Euston direction. This section of track is the bit that curves away from the mainline to serve Watford High Street station.

The Croxley Green branch to the right of the photo, underneath Wiggenhall Road bridge, will be reinstated for the arrival of the Metropolitan Line.

(photo: July 2013)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watford station on the Metropolitan Line. This will be closed when the Met line is diverted onto the Croxley Green to Watford line featured above. For a while, the plans were to remove the track from this station but the track will be retained for train stabling. Not much of the station itself will survive as much will be reused (ticket machines and barriers etc) for the new stations on the new branch.

(photo: 2001)

 

 

 

The Metropolitan Line were planning to extend their Watford branch beyond the existing Watford station, through a tunnel to serve the northern end Watford High Street (the road that is). The cost eventually proved too prohibitive but not before they had purchased the building seen here, now a pub, for use as the station building.

(photo: July 2013)


 

Stanmore Village - Harrow & Wealdstone