In September, MP for Watford, Richard Harrington, working with St Albans MP Anne Main and Herts Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr Derrick Ashley, wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport asking him to make the most of the Abbey Line.
With several large transport projects proposed for the area – the potential redevelopment of Watford Junction Station, a link to Crossrail, positive implications from HS2 and the Croxley Rail Link – Richard wanted to make sure that the Abbey Line is used to full capacity.
Richard Harrington said: “Looking at projections for increased demand in the coming years, along with all the other transport improvements I have been working for, it is essential that the Abbey Line is used to its best capacity – but I know that the service needs to improve so people can count on it every day too”.
Writing to the Secretary of State, Richard repeated his demands for a Passing loop to be built at Bricket Wood to allow for a train to run every half an hour and for through services to London from St Albans Abbey Station to give North Watford residents more transport choices.
On 9 November, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin wrote back to Richard confirming that Network Rail will produce a study into both options.
Speaking about the letter Richard said: “I was very pleased to receive this positive response. Although the announcement is just for a study at this stage, it is the most positive response I’ve had about a through service to London in particular in the whole time I have been MP and that makes me hopeful”.
Richard went on to say: “Although service on the Abbey Line has been very poor recently, due to technical problems with the trains themselves and poor weather conditions, I remain fully committed to getting the most out of this branch and for North Watford residents.”
"I will be writing formally to the DfT with requests from local people about service improvements we want to see in the next franchise agreement, and I want these improvements to the Abbey Line to be front and centre commitments of that contract.”