Mayor Dorothy Thornhill and Park councillors George Derbyshire and Peter Jeffree will be visiting London Underground HQ today to demand that Watford Met station is kept open for passenger service when the new Croxley Rail Link becomes operational in 2018.
It is generally agreed that the Croxley Rail Link will bring major benefits to Watford, specifically to its outstanding regional transport links and the positive impact this will have on the economy of the town. Bur it is unacceptable and unnecessary that the scheme, as agreed by the Conservative Government, involves closure of the passenger service from the existing Watford Met station.
Mayor Thornhill gave full support to her Lib Dem colleagues Cllrs Derbyshire and Jeffree who campaigned vigorously against this proposal in the months leading up to the Public Enquiry in October 2012 and spoke against closure at the Enquiry.
Following Government confirmation that the funding for the CRL is now in place and that the works are now underway for its opening in the summer of 2018, the Mayor and local councillors are renewing their efforts to get London Transport to change their mind on the station closure.
Cllrs Derbyshire and Jeffree’s 2012 campaign to keep Watford Met open received support not only from those existing users of Watford Met (about half of current users) of Watford Met who will be disadvantaged by its closure, but also from the public watch-dog body London Travel Watch. They recommended at the Public Enquiry that there should be a two year trial of a split service, with some trains terminating at Watford junction and others at Watford Met. Other compelling arguments for retaining passenger service at Watford Met have emerged since 2012, not least that the closure of Watford Met as proposed would reduce the number of Met line trains from Watford during the morning rush hour from 9 to 6 trains per hour.
Cllr Derbyshire said: “I was taken aback by the picture in a recent piece of Conservative election literature of local MP Richard Harrington with the Mayor of London. It was Boris Johnson who signed off the plan to close Watford Met! I don’t recall Richard Harrington opposing this at the time.”