Watford North railway station
Template:For Template:Infobox GB station Template:Abbey Line Watford North railway station is a National Rail station which serves the North Watford area in Hertfordshire, England in the United Kingdom. It is the first station on the Abbey Line, a single-track branch line which runs from Template:Stnlnk to Template:Stnlnk and is located approximately Template:Convert north east of Watford Junction. It is adjacent to a level crossing where the Abbey Line crosses Bushey Mill Lane.
Watford North is one of three railway stations in the central Watford area and is operated as an unstaffed railway halt. The Abbey Line service is known locally as the "Abbey Flyer".
The branch line to St Albans was opened in 1858 by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). Watford North station opened 52 years later, in October 1910. Originally named Callowland, the station was built to serve a developing residential and industrial area which still thrives today. It was renamed Watford North in 1927. After the nationalisation of Britain's railways in 1948, the line was run by British Rail (from 1986 under its Network Southeast brand).
As passenger and goods usage dwindled in the 1950s and 60s, the stations on the line were downgraded to unmanned halts.<ref name=nwhg>Template:Cite web</ref>
In 1963, Watford North and the Abbey line were threatened with closure as part of the Beeching cuts, but the line was kept in service. In 1995, a proposal was made to run a reduced service on the Abbey line with diesel trains instead of electric trains. An advocacy group, known as Abfly, was formed to campaign for the line to be maintained and continues to lobby for improvements to the service today.<ref name=nwhg/><ref name=abfly>Template:Cite web</ref> After the Privatisation of British Rail the franchise for the Abbey Line was taken over by National Express Group who ran the line under its Silverlink Metro name until November 2007, when Govia, operating as London Midland, took over the franchise.
The Community Rail Partnership for the Abbey Line, established in 2005, works to improve the abbey Line and inspects stations such as Watford North at least once a week.<ref name=partnership>Template:Cite news</ref>
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The level crossing next to Watford North
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Map of railways around Watford town centre, showing Watford North
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Entrance to the station
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London Midland operates the "Abbey flyer" service through Watford North
Currently there is a 45-minute service in both directions Monday to Saturday, hourly on Sundays. The railway is the quickest way to get between Watford and St Albans, taking only 16 minutes. Template:Rail start Template:Rail line Template:S-end
A number of possible changes to the line have been proposed, including new means of buying tickets, and the restoration of a passing loop at Bricket Wood, which would facilitate a 30-minute service.Template:Fact
Plans were announced in October 2009 for the line to be converted to light rail.<ref name=wo-oct09>Template:Cite news</ref> The line and stations were to be leased to Hertfordshire County Council who would run a tram-train service from Watford Junction to Template:Stnlnk.Template:Deadlink Longer-term proposals envisaged extension into St Albans city centre, possibly to St Albans City railway station. It was estimated that the tram line would be in operation by 2012,<ref name=wo-nov10>Template:Cite news</ref> but the project was cancelled due to the complications and expense of transferring the line from National Rail to the county council.<ref name=herts-tram>Template:Cite web</ref> For the foreseeable future, Watford North will continue to be served by heavy rail trains.