please empty your brain below

A crying shame.

If I lived in the Watford area, I would be barracking the local council to open up discussions with Chiltern Railways to take over the project. Get them to fund and build the s-shaped bridge needed and rails to Watford Junction, and leave out the intermediate stations to keep costs down. They would then have a direct commuter line from Watford to Marylebone at minimal cost compared to their Oxford line. The stations sites could then be offered later to TFL and would be more attractive to build on an established line. Or would that scenario be unpriceable?

dg writes: totally.
In 2021 local councils commissioned a feasibility study into 15 alternative transport scenarios along the former railway, most entirely implausible, and 'Chiltern takeover' isn't even on the longlist.
Sadly, given what we now know about the engineering challenges and consequent expense involved, this project was never going to happen.

If there is a moral to this story it is this: if you are going to build a railway and an enhanced road network, build the railway first. You can generally fit in roads around railways but doing things the other way around may not be practical.
I don't see why Watford needs another line. What’s wrong with the current overground service (soon to be Lioness Line)? There’s an easy interchange with the Bakerloo further down the line for those heading into the centre.
And of course there is the bridge over the alignment on the new link road to the hospital that shall forever remain pointless.

Dave Jones - It would have been very useful for the people in NW London on the Met to get into Watford. It's a major employment and shopping centre for that area
...and why would London business ratepayers pay for people to take their business to Watford?
In any case, there is already an Overground route from Euston, Wembley and Harrow to Watford High Street
With any rail proposal, you have to ask 3 questions - how much will it cost, how much extra revenue will it bring in and thus, how long to pay back the investment. When this project started, the costs were low enough to be viable, but every time the costs were looked at, they went up until they were over 10 times the original price and not even close to being viable.

What never seems to happen is any kind of analysis of why the costs went up - what changed, what new features were added, why did quotes get bigger etc. in this country, we waste huge amounts of money on projects that never happen either because the original estimates were stupid, or because stuff gets added on without someone saying “hang on, this wasn’t in the original proposal”
The most useful (or maybe least pointless?) part of the project would have been to forget the new viaduct and reinstate in a modified form the bulk of the old branch. Maybe in time all the property development going on, Watford's increasing traffic congestion and an upturn in the economy will make that viable.

dg writes: feasibility study option 3 - “likely to represent showstopper risks”
All promise, no delivery.

I think it's a fitting tribute to BoJo.
Jim C - and every project should have its Sir Alastair Morton. His seems to have been the last big one that came in on time.
From a London pov, I agree with this cancellation, as the benefits are too local and Hertfordshire based for the cost. The centre of Watford is well served by the Overground service and mainline trains, while the current Met station serves the west of the town. The football stadium is a comfortable walk from either.

Amersham to Watford Junction would have been useful service locally, but that's a Herts/Bucks benefit, not a London one.
Watford Met Line station is in a stupid place on the far side of a low density suburb where it serves as few people as possible.

We could fix that and make it useful to locals and provide some useful regional connectivity, or we could leave it broken forever. We chose to leave it broken forever.
I grew up with a disused railway behind my house as a person playground - happy days!

Why has this not be considered for a nature trail like the Parkland Walk or the proposed Camden Highline?

dg writes: feasibility study option 15: "Uncertain value for money given cost of conversion and likely usage.”
Bit harsh on the GT statue. It's been really well received by the fans and you see lots of people having photos with it at most games.

As for the link, I wrote something about it for GCSE geography and hoped it would be built one day. That was in 1991. The current Met Line station is a bit too far out of town to be useful so bringing it to Watford Junction makes sense. I can see why London tax payers aren't keen in paying for it but then a lot of people would be using it to get to London, spending money and time there. In the end, it was an easy thing to cull as no affected gets to vote for the mayor so from that point of view it was a risk free project for him to cancel.
I still can’t work out how this proposed extension, complete with exposed DC conductor rails, was “legal”, yet extensions to Merseyrail and electrified infills of the former Southern Railway network are banned on “H&S” grounds.
That's the trouble with this country. We never get on with a project when the cost is low but huff and puff about building it until it becomes too expensive.
Third rail being banned is a trainspotter myth. The East London Line extension (Whitechapel-Highbury) happened long after the ban was supposedly in force. It just needs appropriate mitigation to keep out trespassers and wildlife.

The reason those other projects haven't happened is that electrification of all sorts is exceedingly expensive. It's not like there's a great rush of infill electrification projects happening in parts of England where it wouldn't be third rail.
Had some professional railway dealing with this.

1990 to 1996 worked for NSE on the first Crossrail projet (the one cancelled by the Tories) and we genuinely looked at linking the Chesham - Watford Met via Rickmansworth as part of the staging works when Moor Park to Harrow was being rebuilt - got knowhere

Some years later when working as Operations Manager for what was then North London Railway we were asked to run some (diesel) football specials to Watford Stadium (about 1997) and it was a police request. Not possible - as one of the "things" that happened after the 1996 Watford Junction accident they had to quicky replace track on the main line so the engineers "borrowed" the rails off the then derelict line (severed by a road !) - but did not tell us. It was eventually replaced even though there was no traffic. (or since - as the junction near Watford High St was removed - condition) .

Finally . in advace of this doomed project - one extra "S" stock was acquired (I believe) which presumably works happily away...
Yes, end the Met at Northwood, make anyone who wants to get to Watford from LONDON use the Lioness Line… At least, until we cut IT back at Hatch End. Or just carry on subsidising a tube line to a park in west Watford.
There was a serious proposal to terminate the "slow" lines at Northwood in the mid 80's - as a resident of Croxley fortunately that didn't happen.

At the time of starting the MLX, the cost was £500million, the same as the Bank extension has cost: I think I know which was the better value.

But, the locals had a guffaw at a TFL "community meet" in the Sea Cadets hall, when one official referred to "The Watford Borough of London"!!!

Thanks for the info that Stripling Way bridge is now open: I know where I'll be walking this weekend.
1.68m used Watford Met station in the most recent numbers, so it's hardly that inaccessible or disused.
Watford Junction was 5.5m, and Watford High Street 1.2m
It’s interesting to look at where else would be served by the tube if it went out as far in other directions as it does to the NW. Maybe Chelmsford, Sevenoaks and Guildford.
DB83 - Watford station is around 26km from Charing Cross, which would get you to Walton on Thames/Weybridge, Caterham, Dartford, Upminster and halfway between Cheshunt and Broxbourne. Watford isn't THAT far away!

(However if you're measuring all the way from CHX to Chesham, that's a whopping 40km, which gets you almost to Guildford, well past Sevenoaks, to Gatwick Airport, Basildon, Sawbridgeworth, Harpenden and nearly Stevenage. That would be some TfL-run network.)
A followup looking at other British cities, were they to operate their own local network under a TfX banner over the same scale as the Metropolitan:

Birmingham could run services to Worcester, Telford, Stafford and Rugby

Manchester gets to serve Runcorn, Blackburn and Halifax

Leeds can serve York, Sheffield, Doncaster and Skipton

Cardiff gets all of the valleys, plus Bristol
Whilst highly unlikely (more like improbable), it would be amusing if some eccentric millionaire decided to buy up all the trackbed and then run a heritage railway along it's entire route.

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