Communities Minister Greg Clark MP has today announced a £50million fund to take the Croxley Rail Link project to its next phase.
The Croxley Rail Link will link Watford Junction to the Metropolitan Line, with new train stations being built at Vicarage Road and Ascot Road. This will open up West Watford, and significantly improve access to Watford General Hospital, the Football Club, local Business Parks, and several thousand homes.
There will also be greater connectivity for residents in the South and East of Watford, with the Metropolitan Line linking with London Overground services for the very first time. This will mean that those travelling from Carpenders Park, Bushey, Garston or North Watford stations, will be able to pick up the Met Line to travel into London which will drastically improve local transport options and should ease pressure on London Midland services.
After years of inaction and delay under the previous Government Richard Harrington pledged to secure funding for the project before his election. Following Mr Harrington’s intervention the Government made an initial multi million pound commitment to deliver the scheme in early 2012, and since then work has been underway to clear the track beds, conduct drainage investigations and surveys of electrical cabling, and undertake geological investigations. Planning applications have also been passed for the new Cassiobridge Station, which will be elevated at Ascot Road.
The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick Mcloughlin MP, visited the Ascot Road site with Richard Harrington around eight weeks ago. As well as seeing the progress which had been made Mr Mcloughlin heard about the boost to the local economy which has already been felt as a result of the scheme, with hundreds of jobs already having been created and a number of large companies looking to relocate to key sites near the proposed stations.
This £50million investment means the scheme will move forward and construction on the new stations will soon begin. Trains are set to be operational on the new line by 2017.
An additional £150million was also secured for projects throughout Hertfordshire, including road upgrades for the A120 and A602, the set up of three new Growth Area Forums, Town Centre improvements, new business spaces, and around 17 000 new homes. This investment is expected to generate in the region of 13 000 new jobs in Hertfordshire, and attract several million pounds worth of additional private investment in the County.