Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) and The Department for Transport (DfT) want to increase the frequency of services on the local rail line between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey stations (the ‘Abbey Line’). The organisations are currently working together with Network Rail to develop a scheme to enable this to happen.
The proposal is to convert the Abbey Line to light rail, which means that the line will run a tram-like service rather than traditional heavy rail. This will bring significant benefits to the travelling public; in particular a more frequent service and a timetable that is easier to remember.
How It Will Work
Under the proposals, responsibility for the line would transfer to HCC, so it would become locally operated and accountable. The DfT would transfer to HCC the money that would otherwise have been paid to London Midland, who currently operates the service.
The new services will use the same railway track and overhead power lines as the existing service. It will need different vehicles, which will have to be procured, and potentially some modifications to the line’s infrastructure and power supply.
The basic requirement of the scheme is that services between Watford Junction and St Albans should run at least half-hourly. However, it may be possible to run them even more frequently than that, and/or with extended operating hours.