I'm committed to breaking ground on the redevelopment of Watford Junction. As passengers know, the station is outdated, overcrowded and the access arrangements are not fit for purpose.
We want to see better drop off and pick up, better car and bicycle parking provision, a new forecourt, more food and retail outlets and another access point to the station. I'm pleased that we now have a spending commitment from the station managers and stakeholders for vital improvements and I plan to see it through.
I also want to see better train services to and from London. There are now more train drivers than ever before working on the West Coast Main Line (which covers our train services to London and the Abbey Line). New trains, series 350s, came into service on our lines adding thousands more seats each week. The four 319 trains on that line have also been completely overhauled and refurbished.
I'm pleased that London Midland will be setting up a Virtual Depot a London Euston Station which will have conductors and train drivers on standby in case something goes wrong. This is all very welcome news but I appreciate that there is still a lot more that needs to done and so I will certainly be keeping on top of this.
Good transport links are key to Watford’s success. That's why I'm really pleased to confirm that by 2018, the Overground will increase from three to four services an hour as brand new British-built Bombardier trains come into service across their lines.I think this will make the Overground an even more popular choice for travelling around our area and into London.
On top of that, to ease overcrowding, 5-car trains also replaced 4-car trains last year, adding much needed extra capacity during rush hour.
After twenty years of campaigning, the running hours of the Abbey Line between Watford and St Albans have been extended later into the evening!
The last departure from Watford Junction is now 10.21pm on Monday to Saturday, and 11.04pm on Sunday.
I was delighted to secure Government funding to deliver the Metropolitan Line Extension back in 2015, and I remain 100% committed to the project .
The Department for Transport and local stakeholders have already provided substantial funding for the project up front. TfL agreed to take over the management of the project and so I have arranged to meet with London Mayor Sadiq Khan to discuss this further. In the meantime, design work continues.
I've been involved with this from the start and I intend to see it through!
Fuel costs remain a significant part of business and household costs. To reduce living costs, fuel duty has been frozen for a seventh successive year. In total this saves the average car driver £130 a year and the average van driver £350.
It goes without saying that all disabled people should have the same access to our transport services as other members of society. That's why I'm delighted that local Arriva buses now offer audio visual services. They have also been completely revamped and have free Wifi and sockets for charging devices.