passenger closure

Page last updated: 11 April 2006.

Watford High Street - Croxley Green branch: passenger closure

The Croxley Green branch was reduced to three Monday to Friday round trips from 21 January 1991 and further reduced to a vestigial single Monday to Friday morning round trip from 17 May 1993. This was withdrawn from 25 March 1996, being replaced by a similar frequency bus. Initially, this was to last for but nine months for road works, the line being retained for the prospective Croxley Rail Link (still hovering in the wings even now). Eventually, on 23 March 2001 the Strategic Rail Authority published a closure notice for the line and for Croxley Green and Watford West stations. The hoped for closure date of 18 June 2001 was not met because 34 objections were received - despite which the Department for Transport approved closure by letter [second page] (over John Spellar's signature) dated 6 November 2002 with the sole proviso that the trackbed should not be disposed of for five years "by which time the outcome of any proposals for the Croxley Rail Link should be clearer" (which accounts for some reports of November 2002 as the closure date). No date was specified for implementing the "closure" and Silverlink Train Services Ltd (the franchisee) continued to operate a replacement road service until the end of the summer 2003 timetable.

Incidentally, Silverlink are adamant (letter dated 1 October 2004) that a road service was operated until 26 September 2003 so reports about a bus service which was withdrawn at the end of March 2003 are "red herrings".

Thus, Monday 29 September 2003 must mark the formal date for final withdrawal of "passenger service" from the Croxley Green branch - some 7 years after the last regular train!

All signals, points and associated infrastructure on the line from Watford High Street Junction towards Croxley Green were recovered in September 2005.

Watford Stadium station

No dubiety exists about the opening - by Elton John - on 4 December 1982 of this platform on the LM ex-LNW Croxley Green branch for special services for football supporters.

Would that the same clarity existed about its demise! A correspondent who used the platform on 11 February 1989 did so by special stops in the branch passenger service, whereas a correspondent who used it on 9 November 1991 found that only special Watford Jn - Watford Stadium non-stop shuttles served the platform - the Croxley Green branch had been reduced to just three Monday to Friday round trips from 21 January 1991. A correspondent to Branch Line News (issue 994 item 376) reports using the platform on Sunday 28 November 1993.

"Officialdom" - in the shape of the London Transport Users' Committee - state that they "do not have any recollection of dealing with a closure hearing for Watford Stadium Station, and doubt whether one was necessary as it was ... a private station that was used only on match days."

If any reader can better pinpoint the final use of this platform the editor will be delighted to hear.

Richard Maund

An earlier version of this article also appeared in Branch Line News no. 983, 21 November 2004 and no. 990, 2 April 2005, and in Railway & Canal Historical Society Railway Chronology Group Co-ordinating Newsletter no. 41, January 2005.

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