There’s been a call for more trains to use a little-used junction on the London Underground to increase services on the Metropolitan line between Watford and Rickmansworth. The improvement would however be linked to the currently moribund Croxley rail link being built, which is unlikely in the near future.

Currently, the Met line has a short spur that runs up to Watford station. Baring a small handful of trains, most services run between Watford and central London — and very few head the other way, using the North Junction, from Watford up towards Amersham.

Location of the north junction – on TfL tube map

In a motion (pdf) to be presented at Three Rivers District Council meeting, Councillor Ciaran Reed is calling for a proposal to increase the number of trains heading towards Amersham, mainly to benefit Rickmansworth residents who currently have fewer options for public transport links to Watford.

The impetus for the call to improve the use of the little-used junction has more to do with ensuring that the postponed Croxley link isn’t downgraded in the future. The council has been investigating a way of reopening the disused rail link, but instead of making it part of the Met line, they might operate a bus or light rail shuttle.

If that did happen, the opportunity to run more Met line trains between Watford Junction and Amersham would be removed forever.

The cancelled rail link proposal

The motion being put forward says that the council “believes that if the North Curve track between Croxley and Rickmansworth could be used by a service created as a part of the Croxley – Watford Link, it would significantly increase the value of the project and provide many more Three Rivers residents (and potentially residents in Buckinghamshire), access to this quicker travel to key sites in Watford, including Watford General Hospital, Watford Junction, Vicarage Road Stadium and Watford High Street”

The motion, if passed, would call on the council to work with Transport for London (TfL) to “reconsider allowing the integration of a Croxley – Watford Link to the North Curve track so that trains could run from Chorleywood, through Rickmansworth and Croxley, to Watford, significantly decreasing journey times”

It also calls for the Croxley rail link economic case to be revised to include the option for more trains to run between Watford Junction and Amersham and also any option to run trains further into Buckinghamshire, in effect reopening the old Met line route up to Aylesbury which is currently served by Chiltern Railways.

Ultimately, it’s down to finding the money.

For track bashers — there are a handful of Metropolitan line trains which currently use the North Junction, usually very early in the morning and late at night, and very rarely, at weekends during engineering closures.


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  1. DJL says:

    I’m confused why this would be linked to the croxley link at all.
    Since all the track already exists it seems to me that the only cost would be the train(s) required to run the service.
    Unless there is insufficient terminating capacity at the current Watford station?

    • Keith says:

      The existing Watford station whilst having four tracks only has platform access to two of those. By contrast there appears to be at least four terminating platforms at Watford junction, which can be accessed via Watford High Street.

      I guess in theory additional platforms could be built at Watford station. This however would likely require realigning the currently platform-less tracks, and incur significant cost. If they’re looking to close this station in the long term then it’s probably hard to justify the cost of that work.

    • Brian Butterworth says:

      Also the pair of lines between Amersham and Watford Triangle are shared with Chiltern diesel trains out of Marylebone.

      The signalling system out hasn’t gotten to the 4LM project yet so there’s no easy way to add trains for either the Met or Chiltern.

    • Tim Bailey says:

      Is the short/medium term plan to run more trains up to Watford Underground station then? I’d assume then if the passenger numbers are there, they’ll re-open the idea of the rail link.

      Is the Watford Underground service really that limited at the moment? (Peak trains weekday only?)

  2. Brian Butterworth says:

    Or just change at Moor Park? It’s almost always over the island from planforms 3 and 4 if you’re THAT desperate to be somewhere-near-Watford!

    • Adrien says:

      A direct service between Watford & Rickmansworth would save a good 15 minutes for most journeys. At the moment most people drive or have to rely on unreliable and expensive buses. Not ideal!

  3. Paul says:

    Seems to me this is all about improving the business case for the Croxley link to actually get it built.

    Personally I still find the cost inflation of the Croxley project extraordinary and wonder where it’s all come from. I assume it’s nevertheless been value engineered as much as possible though, so finding ways to up the benefit side of the equation makes sense.

    In any sane country though, this obviously strategic link would just be built as a complete no-brainer.

  4. ChrisC says:

    Local Elections in Three Rivers this May.

    This always gets trotted out before the election then nothing gets done until the next set.

    • ThreeRiversRick says:

      It’s local elections in Three Rivers every May as they elect a third of the councillors each time.

      I just don’t see any appetite for this until the signalling on the Met is upgraded, Croxley link has happened, there’s a solid business case and some spare trains.

  5. Kaycee says:

    Definitely need more links to the tube in Watford,it’s ridiculous that everything is overground and expensive. Its absolutely shambolic that the Watford Met trains run at the frequency that they do!

    • Adrien says:

      As a regular commuter (Monday to Friday, peak hours) on the Watford line, I can say with confidence that you are dead wrong. I have always gotten a seat when I get on at Croxley station, even when there have been cancellations. While up to 8 trains an hour might seem low compared to central London, I think it’s more than adequate for how many people use the line.

      As for the comment about the trains being above ground …… What???? Why is that a problem???????

  6. Kyle says:

    Surely Chiltern would be better as it would link up Watford to Aylesbury?

  7. Max I gram says:

    “If that did happen, the opportunity to run more Met line trains between Watford Junction and Amersham would be removed forever.”

    I think you meant Watford Met. station which is, of course, nowhere near the centre of Watford!

  8. Brian says:

    IIUC, Moor park and stations north thereof, including watford are outside of Greater London, and that therefore the people of Three Rivers, Herts and Bucks mote generally should have to pay up. If that’s what they want then ‘go for it’. A reprise of the ‘Croxley Link’? What has changed. Do I see Porcine Flight? Currently 4tph Baker Street- Watford; 4tph Baker Street- Amersham/ Chesham. More in peak.What’s wrong with changing at Moor Park? How many will flock to Watford- Rickmansworth that aren’t already?

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