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27.03.15

LU to take over delivery of £284.4m Croxley rail link

London Underground (LU) has confirmed that it will take over delivery of the long-awaited Croxley rail link after an agreement was reached with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) over funding. 

Last week RTM reported that the government and Transport for London (TfL) were set to provide £50m to plug the shortfall on the project, after its estimated cost more than doubled. 

The total cost of the project had stood at £116.8m but this has ballooned to £284.4m. 

Today it was confirmed that HCC has been designated to lead a consortium of local funding partners, including the Hertfordshire LEP and Watford Borough Council, which combined, will contribute £128.08m to the total scheme costs. The DfT has agreed to provide £109.82m and TfL will provide £46.5m for the rail link.

Construction work to re-route and extend the Metropolitan Line to Watford Junction is planned to start later this year.  However, LU could not confirm a start date. 

As part of the project, two new stations will be created at Cassiobridge and Watford Vicarage Road, served by new walk-through air-conditioned trains every ten minutes to and from central London during peak hours. The existing Watford station will close following the opening of the new stations, and the first trains are expected to run on the extended line by 2019. 

RTM was told that as LU has taken over delivery of the programme it will be reviewing the current plans. Members of the project team are hopeful to have trains running along the line in 2018, but it is doubtful that they will be running by spring 2018 as originally planned. 

It is anticipated that the scheme, once approved, will take approximately two years to become operational from the start of construction, including any testing and commissioning. 

David Hughes, LU’s director of major programme sponsorship, said: “We have a track record for successfully delivering major projects. 

“Until now the Croxley rail link project has been managed by HCC, who along with government are providing the bulk of the project funding. Late last year, faced with significant project slippage and cost escalation, the government asked us to consider stepping in and taking over responsibility for delivery of the scheme. We were clear that a suitable funding package needed to be in place before we would be prepared to take this on.   

“As announced in the Budget, those discussions have now concluded, and the Mayor has confirmed that LU should take on overall delivery responsibility for the project. We have agreed to contribute £16m, which is the approximate cost of the additional train services required to support the link when it opens in 2019.” 

The planned route begins at a new junction near Baldwins Lane, about a kilometre north-east of the currently disused Croxley station. A 400m new viaduct will take the line over the Watford Road dual carriageway and the Grand Union Canal on to the Croxley Green branch line track bed to Watford High Street and Watford Junction. 

Rob Smith, deputy director - Environment (Transport and Environment Management) at HCC, said: “This is wonderful news for the people of Watford and its surrounding areas. Not only will this rail link improve accessibility between Watford and central London, but it also has the potential to significantly boost economic development in the region. This will bring business, jobs and many more opportunities to the Watford area.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com 

Comments

William Huskisson   04/04/2015 at 21:31

Given HCC's appalling management of Public Transport - for example decimation of bus services and route alterations without consultation in Hemel Hempstead and employing a Road Transport consultant who doesn't even drive a car the mismanagement and delays to this simple project was only to be expected.

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