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Bygone Lines: Croxley Green Branch
LNWR CROXLEY GREEN JN - CROXLEY GREEN (single line 1½ miles)
Closed: Temp closure 25.3.1996; Official closure 30.3.2003.
Stations: Watford Stadium (opened 1982); Watford West; Croxley Green.
Under its New Lines Act, the LNWR carried out a number of improvements in the Watford area which included a short branch to Croxley Green from the line to Rickmansworth (see above). It opened in 1912 and after it was electrified in 1922 the LMS ran about three trains an hour with seven mins allowed to cover the three miles from Watford Junction. There were also direct services to Euston via the west to south curve at Croxley Green Junction but these were withdrawn in 1966. LNWR three-car Oerlikon EMUs were used until 1957 when they were replaced by Class 501s which in 1985 gave way to Class 313s from the ER. The shuttle service to Watford Junction was withdrawn in 1996 and replaced by a bus to allow a new dual carriageway road to be built. The branch was officially closed in 2003.
About 1989 London Transport floated the idea of diverting the Metropolitan line away from its remote west Watford terminus and, by means of less than a mile of new alignment, link up with this branch to gain access to Watford Junction. In 2001 the SRA confirmed that it wanted to see the branch reopened and the link constructed but in November 2002 (whilst it was stipulated that track and formation must remain intact for five years) it was reported that the branch had been deleted from the Network. In March 2003 the replacement bus service (in practice a taxi on demand) was withdrawn. In the Government’s Local Transport Plan (LTP) announced in January 2004 the DfT wants a firmer commitment from London Underground on funding before it can establish whether the amount bid from the LTP programme (£72m) offered value for money. In September 2005 all points, signals and associated equipment, including the trailing connection at Watford High Street, were recovered from the branch.
Route - when open
It diverged from the Rickmansworth branch at Croxley Green Junction (TQ106953), bridged the River Colne and headed NW. In December 1982 a halt was opened at Watford Stadium for fans attending Watford F.C.s home matches. West station in Tolpits Lane was located midway along the branch and from there it bridged the River Gade and the canal to reach the Croxley Green terminus station (TQ088959) located on Watford Road (A412).
Route - today
In 1996 Hertfordshire County Council was allowed to break through the embankment short of Croxley Green station to build a new dual carriageway road called Ascot Road. This severed the line just east of the bridge over the River Gade/Grand Union Canal. The branch was last walked with the third rail track still in situ.
Stations: at Watford Stadium and Watford West retain platforms, lights, nameboards and entrances but no buildings; Croxley Green intact complete with third rail trackwork, nameboard, lights and entrance.
Bridges: all bridges in place including twin-span lattice girder bridge over the Grand Union Canal and River Gade at Croxley Green station; bridge carrying Tolpits lane at Watford West.
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