CROXLEY GREEN - WATFORD HIGH STREET (Pt.5)

(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.

 


 

WATFORD STADIUM - WIGGENHALL ROAD 

 

Looking back toward the Watford Stadium station direction. The bridge is only wide enough for one track on top but the base below has been constructed to allow the bridge to be widened to accommodate an extra track.

(photo: 2002)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This and all other signalling equipment was removed from the line in 2005.

(photo: 2002)

 

 

 

Fallen gradient sign.

(photo: Jan 2012)

 

 

 

Westward view. The line to Croxley curves round to the right but the original line to Rickmansworth would have carried straight on from this point.

(photo: 2003)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slightly further back (eastward) but sill looking in a westward direction. The gardening that had obviously taken place just prior to this 2003 visit to allow for surveying reveals the double track space.

There is another bridge, virtually out of shot, on the left hand side for the tracks that led to the carriage sheds.

 

 

 

 

The Colne bridges: the left one leading forward toward Rickmansworth and backward toward the carriage sheds; and the right one leading to Croxley Green in a forward direction and Watford Junction backwards behind the photographer.

(photo: 2009)
©2009. Stephen Golding

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eastward view of the track leading to the carriage sheds (now demolished).

(photo: 2002)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Croxley Green carriage sheds photographed in the summer of 1984 by Trevor Golding, shortly before closure. Photo submitted by Stephen Golding.

 ©2005. Trevor Golding

 

 

 

Side view of the rusting bridge leading to the carriage sheds site.

(photo: Jan 2012)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back on the Croxley Green line heading eastward toward Watford.

(photo: 2003)

 

 

 

Heading east toward Watford.

(photo: 2003)

 

 

 

Looking back at the track seen in the photo above.

(photo: 2003)


 

Part 6: Wiggenhall Road bridge - Watford High Street