Croxley Rail Link

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Watford Junction-Croxley
Watford West Railway Station
Watford West Railway Station
Gauge : 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
Power system : 750 V  =
Dual track : Yes
Route - straight ahead
Station, station
Watford Junction planned endpoint of the ML
Stop, stop
Watford High Street
WCML & Watford DC Line to London Euston
Watford Stadium stop
Watford Vicarage Road (planned)
Watford West
BSicon .svgBSicon exABZgl.svgBSicon exKBHFeq.svg
Croxley Green closed in 1996
BSicon uKBHFaq.svgBSicon uxABZg + r.svgBSicon .svg
Metropolitan Line to Chesham and Amersham
Metropolitan Line to Baker Street / Aldgate

Croxley Rail Link or Metropolitan Line Extension was the name for a rail transport project in the municipality of Croxley Green and the city of Watford in the English county of Hertfordshire . It planned to relocate the end of the existing line branch to Watford underground station via a railway line that was closed in 2003 to Watford Junction station . The connection was to be used by trains on the Metropolitan Line from London Underground .


Creation of the underground line

Similar to other railway companies, the Metropolitan Railway pursued the business model at the beginning of the 20th century of building lines in what were then still rural suburbs of London and in this way to attract commuters from the capital's growing middle class . In contrast to other railway companies, it had obtained the right to independently sell land for new residential areas in the countryside along these routes, and this was accompanied by a pioneering advertising campaign under the catchphrase Metro-land .

Their main line began at Baker Street Station and from there opened up the north-west of the developing Greater London area. The section from Harrow-on-the-Hill to Verney Junction was operated by the Metropolitan Railway after 1903 together with the Great Central Railway Company , whose main line ran from London Marylebone to Sheffield . The joint company called "Metropolitan and Great Central Joint Railway" planned the branch line to the center of Watford at the instigation of the Watford Urban District Council . The UK Parliament approved the construction in 1912.

Delayed by the First World War , construction work did not begin until the end of 1922. However, Watford had acquired Cassiobury Park in 1911 as a municipal green area and has now blocked the expansion of the branch line beyond Watford station . An alternative connection planned in 1927 to a terminus at Watford Central failed due to construction costs. Opened in 1925, Watford remains a comparatively under-used terminus around 1.6 kilometers from the center of Watford. To date, this is more easily accessible from Watford High Street and Watford Junction Central Station , there with long-distance connections on the West Coast Mainline . As a makeshift, the Metropolitan Railway set up a bus service.

The Metropolitan Railway went on in 1933 in the publicly organized public transport company of London, the London Passenger Transport Board . Their routes became the Metropolitan Line of the London Underground.

Branch line of the LNWR

The London and North Western Railway had already started planning its own branch from Watford High Street to Croxley Green in 1908 , based on the initially hapless Watford and Rickmansworth Railway . It was opened in 1912. Although its terminus Croxley Green was only about 200 meters from the tracks of the Metropolitan Railway, a connection between the two competing railway lines was never planned.

Watford West 1985

The Watford West stopover opened in 1913 and temporarily closed the following year for the duration of the First World War. In 1922 the line was electrified. It narrowly escaped closure in 1966 as planned by Richard Beeching , Chairman of British Railways . The Watford Stadium stop was established in 1982 for the event traffic to football matches of Watford FC , which lost its function again as the sporting success of the club decreased. After a last, experimental periodic consolidation from 1988 to the beginning of 1990, only one working pair of trains remained on the route from 1993: a so-called parliamentary train with the main purpose of postponing the formal closure process . In 1996 a road construction project cut the terminus from the network. From then on, passenger train operations were suspended until 2003, when the branch line was closed for all traffic. The route was secured for five years for Croxley Rail Link. In 2005, the switch to the rest of the route network was removed.

Croxley Rail Link project

Scope of planning

Planned route of the Croxley Rail Link, center right. Right from bottom to top the main line West Coast Mainline from London Euston, with the overground on the Watford DC Line to Watford Junction and its turning in the area of Watford High Street . At the bottom left the main line of the Metropolitan Line with the track triangle to the branch line to Watford .

The name "Croxley Rail Link" first appeared in planning documents around 1994. This meant a stretch of around 5.5 kilometers between Croxley Underground Station and Watford High Street Station on the Watford DC Line . It should essentially use the disused branch line of the former LNWR and replace the terminus of the Metropolitan Line, which is underutilized due to its unfavorable location. The most important connecting element was a new viaduct over the Grand Union Canal , the River Gade and a main road.

The three stations that had not been used since 1996 were to remain closed, but were essentially replaced by the new buildings Watford Cassiobridge and Watford Vicarage Road . In addition, the Watford High Street and Watford Junction stations already served by the London Overground should also be used. The previous underground terminus Watford would have probably been closed.

Moreover, considered the county of Hertfordshire, in addition a cross connection from Watford Junction on the rarely used northern curve of the wye Watford Triangle of Rickmansworth and the main route of the Metropolitan Line to Amersham in the county of Buckinghamshire to order. If London Underground had won the contract for such a service, it would have been the only tube line that was completely outside the city of London.

Directed by the county of Hertfordshire

The Hertfordshire County Council was in charge of the planning, supported by the neighboring communities of Watford and Three Rivers . Due to the location outside the capital, participation by the London Underground holding company, Transport for London - legal successor to the London Passenger Transport Board - was not feasible.

Hertfordshire therefore wanted to finance the planning and construction with a subsidy from the UK Department of Transport and by taking on liabilities that were to be paid off with the fare. The transport links should favor the establishment of a health center, commercial enterprises and the construction of housing and in this way generate higher tax revenues for the county and municipality. These commercial investors also received £ 1.5 million in the planning costs.

Obvious measures to reduce construction and operating costs, for example unadorned and unmanned stations, were in a state of tension with the operational requirements of an attractive access offer. Unlike the earlier branch line, the minimum standards for routes of the London Underground had to be observed. In addition to the continuous double-track expansion of the line and the new viaduct, the construction of a new substation for the power supply had to be taken into account. As part of the ongoing procurement, London Underground anticipated an additional S-Stock train for £ 15.5 million .

Hertfordshire cut the project costs initially calculated from 170 million pounds to 115 million pounds in order to meet the conditions for funding from the Department of Transport of 76 million pounds. Overall, however, the calculated cost-benefit ratio remained unfavorable. Nevertheless, on July 24, 2013, Parliament passed the law required for building permits under the Transport and Works Act , with construction scheduled to start in autumn 2015. A first free cut since 1996 overgrown traffic facilities took place, 2013.

At TfL as a Metropolitan Line Extension

Updated calculations by the state-owned infrastructure company Network Rail showed a construction price of £ 230 million in 2014. Due to the strained public finances, the Ministry of Transport was unable to cope with this increase. George Osborne as Chancellor of the Government submitted by the Conservative Party had also begun the allocations to Transport for London (TfL abbreviated) to reduce . Within five years the annual subsidy for the running costs of the transport network in the capital should be reduced from £ 700 million to zero.

Another appraisal in early 2015 determined a minimum price of more than £ 284 million. In view of the rising cost estimates, London Mayor Boris Johnson ensured that project responsibility was transferred to TfL in November 2015. The official project name changed to "Metropolitan Line Extension" (MLX for short).

In the recent past, TfL had successfully carried out major construction projects on its own , for example for London Overground . The budget for the Metropolitan Line Extension remained tight, with an incalculable project risk . The estimated total cost was £ 284.4 million. For the first time, TfL had to contribute its own funds amounting to 49.23 million pounds, of which around 30 million pounds came from taking on new liabilities to which the Treasury Department had to specifically approve, plus 16.5 million from a special budget (“Growth Fund”).

In time for the elections to the British House of Commons in 2015 , the ruling Conservative Party was able to signal to voters in Watford that the project was progressing.

Failure of the project

At the end of 2015, the cost estimate was just under £ 300 million. The expansion of the Metropolitan Line - located outside the capital, favoring economic development in Hertfordshire, but now to be financed to a considerable extent by TfL, while the existing transport offer in the capital came under cost pressure - could no longer be justified for London in this constellation.

The Watford-based general contractor Taylor Woodrow , originally commissioned by Hertfordshire in 2013 , completed the first planning phase of the project in autumn 2016 as commissioned. However, TfL no longer placed the follow-up order. This ended the preparatory construction work, which had only been carried out to a limited extent anyway. Further price increases to at least 350 million pounds were subsequently apparent, and in June 2017 TfL announced that it could not cover these.

In 2016, under Mayor Sadiq Khan of the Labor Party , TfL was given the political mandate to keep prices in London's local public transport essentially constant until 2020. In September 2017, Khan decided to limit TfL's stake in the project to the previously pledged £ 49 million for a total price of a good £ 284 million. TfL's liability framework has largely been exhausted and the rising costs are not offset by higher revenues. Therefore, all activities related to the expansion of the Metropolitan Line should be stopped in a regulated manner. At that point, £ 71 million - £ 130 million, according to another source - had been spent on the entire project.

Overall, in addition to the cancellation of government grants, with rising inflation, a decrease in the number of passengers in all of London's local public transport, especially in the bus sector, and thus in fare revenues. The operating cost deficit of around one billion pounds, which is foreseeable for 2019, contributed to the overall shift in priorities for all investment projects in the London Underground.

As a result of inadequate funding and the unexplained project risk, the project was stopped. The lack of construction progress meant that the temporary building permit for the expansion of the Metropolitan Line expired in August 2018 in accordance with the Transport and Works Act .


In spring 2018, Watford's Mayor Peter Taylor reaffirmed that he would continue to strive for a transport connection along the route of Croxley Rail Link, possibly as a bus or tram connection, and that he was in dialogue with the committees.

Web links

Commons : Croxley Rail Link  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Metropolitan line extension. (No longer available online.) Transport for London, archived from the original on July 17, 2017 ; accessed on November 12, 2017 (English).
  2. a b Metropolitan Line Extension ('MLX'), formerly the 'Croxley Rail Link'. Three Rivers District Council, 2016, archived from the original on November 12, 2017 ; accessed on November 12, 2017 (English).
  3. ^ Nick Catford: Watford West Station. In: Disused Stations. Retrieved November 10, 2017 .
  4. Croxley Green LNWR branch - passenger closure. In: Rail Chronology. April 11, 2006, archived from the original on November 7, 2017 ; accessed on November 12, 2017 (English).
  5. Nick Catford: Croxley Green Station. In: Disused Stations. May 7, 2017, accessed November 10, 2017 .
  6. ^ Hywel Williams: North of Harrow & Wealdstone. In: Underground History. Retrieved November 10, 2017 .
  7. ^ Mike Wright: Watford Met Station to close to passengers when new Croxley Rail Link opens. In: Watford Observer. Newsquest (London & Essex) Ltd., July 24, 2013, archived from the original ; accessed on November 10, 2017 (English).
  8. a b c d e f FOI-1903-1718 request detail Metropolitan Line Extension. Transport for London, January 9, 2018, archived from the original on September 26, 2018 ; Accessed on September 26, 2018 (English, "extention" [sic]): "In 2015, TfL was asked to take over delivery from HCC due to the rise in costs and program slippage. The MLX scheme formally transferred to TfL in November 2015, with an agreed funding package of £ 284.4m, which included a contribution of £ 49.23million from TfL. ... The scheme cannot be delivered within the funding package of £ 284.4m agreed at the time of transfer in 2015, and at least £ 70m more will be required. This rise in costs is not because of a change in scope, but is a reflection of what the market is telling us. ... The Transport and Works Act Order powers for the project will lapse in August 2018. A revised funding package will need to be agreed by the end of 2017 in order for the necessary works to commence by August 2018 to keep the Powers intact. "
  9. a b c d e f John Bull: The Metropolitan Line Extension: Deadline Day. In: London Reconnections. December 31, 2017, archived from the original on January 5, 2018 ; accessed on January 5, 2018 .
  10. ^ A b Nathan Louis: Light rail or tram system could replace Met Line extension in Watford. In: Watford Observer. Newsquest (London & Essex) Ltd., May 18, 2018, archived from the original on September 26, 2018 ; accessed on September 26, 2018 (English).
  11. ^ A b John Bull: Croxley: Maximum Milk, Minimum Moo. In: London Reconnections. December 20, 2011, archived from the original on January 14, 2016 ; accessed on February 2, 2018 .
  12. a b c d Sadiq Khan: MD2170 Metropolitan Line Extension (MLX) - TfL Funding. In: Mayoral decision MD2170. Mayor of London, September 28, 2017, archived from the original on January 5, 2018 ; accessed on January 5, 2018 .
  13. ^ Watford Metropolitan line Tube extension gets go-ahead. BBC News , July 24, 2013, archived from the original on December 26, 2016 ; accessed on November 10, 2017 (English).
  14. Gwyn Topham: transport suffers deepest cuts after London subsidy axed. In: The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, November 25, 2015, archived from the original on June 18, 2017 ; accessed on May 12, 2018 (English).
  15. ^ London Underground takes over the Croxley Rail Link project. In: Railway Gazette . March 27, 2015, archived from the original on March 14, 2017 ; accessed on November 10, 2017 (English).
  16. a b Meeting documents of the TfL Committee for Programs and Investments, meeting of 2017-12-12: Contents of the Growth Fund, ( PDF file, page 9) - archive link (created 2018-01-08): growth-fund.pdf
  17. ^ A b Charlotte Ikonen: Metropolitan Line Extension: Everything you need to know about the project. In: Watford Observer. Newsquest (London & Essex) Ltd., 2017, archived from the original on January 5, 2018 ; accessed on January 5, 2018 .
  18. ^ John Bull: TfL Confirm Gap in Croxley Rail Link Funding. In: London Reconnections. June 21, 2017, archived from the original on August 26, 2017 ; accessed on November 10, 2017 (English).
  19. Enabling works for the MLX (the Metropolitan Line Extension, formerly the Croxley Rail Link). Three Rivers District Council, 2016, archived from the original on November 12, 2017 ; accessed on November 12, 2017 (English).
  20. Fares freeze. Transport for London, archived from the original on November 11, 2017 ; accessed on November 12, 2017 (English).
  21. ^ Gwyn Topham: TfL facing near £ 1bn deficit next year after journey numbers fall. In: The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, February 12, 2018, archived from the original on March 12, 2018 ; accessed on May 12, 2018 (English).
  22. Pedantic of Purley: Third World Class Capacity: canceling Tube upgrades. In: London Reconnections. October 31, 2017, archived from the original on November 4, 2017 ; Retrieved on May 12, 2018 (English): "The Mayor's fares freeze cannot have helped but its contribution to this should not be overstated. The loss in government support in funding TfL's capital program is far more significant. ... Unexpectedly high inflation (especially with a fares freeze) and uncertainty of future passenger numbers in the aftermath of Brexit must also be factors though to what extent is hard to tell. ... Probably more significant than anything else as a cause is the fact that the current Mayor has identified different priorities within his transport plan. "