CROXLEY GREEN - WATFORD HIGH STREET (Pt.3)

(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 and beyond. 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.

 


 

ASCOT ROAD - WATFORD WEST 

 

View westward in the direction of Ascot Road.

Move your cursor over the image to see Will Temple's photo from July 2005, taken slightly more eastward.

For a map of the area, click here.

(photo: 2002)

 

 

 

 

 

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Heading toward Watford and away from Croxley Green terminus. The bridge to the Sun Printers premises seen here was demolished not long after the photo was taken.

(photo: 2002)

 

 

 

The track between Ascot Road and Watford West, severely overground and rubbish strewn.

(photo: Jan 2012)

 

 

 

The track just west of Watford West station and the barrier put in to stop any mis-directed trains from progressing further and finding the missing track beyond Ascot Road.

(photo: Jan 2012)

 

 

 

Bridge carrying Tolpits Lane over the line.

(photo: Jan 2012)

 

 

 

 

 

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Watford West station entrance after closure but prior to the addition of metal security 'cage', designed to prevent easy public access. This seemed a bit pointless considering that open access to the line was available elsewhere.

The house on the left of the photo has been demolished and new flats have been built in its place.

This station won't be reopened due to to the platform area not being on level ground, thus failing current regulations.

(photo: 2001)

 

 

 

Top level photo: Watford West station looking east toward Watford while still in use. The station building, stair and platform canopies were demolished before the station was closed.

The bridge over the line visible further along the track carries Vicarage Road over the line. Watford Stadium Halt was located beyond the bridge and the new Watford Vicarage Road station will be accessed from the bridge but with the platforms on this side of it.

(photo: Dec 1977)   © Mark Dufton

 

Lower level photo (move your cursor over the image to view it):

The remains of the station in June 2014. The opening of the Metropolitan Line extension over this route is now due to open in 2017. The platform remains seen here are likely to be swept away soon.

 

 

 

 

Watford West station looking east toward Watford.

(photo: Jan 2012)

 

 

 

 

 

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Westward view i.e. facing toward the Croxley Green direction.

(photo: 2001)

 

 

 

 

 

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Eastward view.

(photo: 2001)

 

 

 

Westward view showing the return to nature some eleven year later.

(photo: Jan 2012)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(photo: 2001)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(photo: 2002)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The platform viewed from the Watford end looking back toward the Croxley Green direction.

(photo: 2002)

 

 

 

(photo: Jan 2012)

 

 

 

Looking west toward Croxley Green.

(photo: Jan 2012)

 

 

 

View from Tolpits Road bridge after the clean up in 2014. If construction on the Metropolitan Line extension starts in 2014 as currently planned, these platform remains will be demolished soon.

(photo: June 2014)

 

 

 

Looking back toward the Watford West site from the eastern side.

(photo: July 2013)


 

Part 4: Vicarage Rd - Watford Stadium