With an emphasis on the London area, RailEnable researches an improved rail network. We believe in travel by train. Rail is socially inclusive and better for the environment. Welcome therefore to RailEnable. We hope you find our published research interesting.
RailEnable is also known as RailAble.
We have five current projects :
Firstly, concerning travel in the Oxford to Cambridge arc, there seems to be a good business case for a railway line between St Albans and Hatfield.
Secondly, concerning the East Coast Main Line (ECML), we discuss the possibility of Crossrail services via the West Anglia Main Line (WAML) on to the ECML, these services bypassing the ECML bottleneck at Welwyn.
Thirdly, a station stop on High Speed 2 in the vicinity of Aylesbury.
Fourthly, a direct London commuter service via Camberley.
Fifthly, a Crossrail, or Crossrail 2, circular service via Reading.
Further details follow.
Welcome to our research into travel in the Oxford to Cambridge arc.
In response to the research published by consultants Atkins in August 2014 and in response to England's Economic Heartland (EEH) Passenger Rail Study Phase Two published in July 2021, our research demonstrates that there seems to be a good business case for a railway line between St Albans and Hatfield. Let us illustrate this line.
Drawings (diagrammatic maps) are displayed full size for clarity.
The existing Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey line, intermediate stations not shown, would connect onto the St Albans to Hatfield line, either as conventional rail or as light rail.
As conventional rail, there could be a service from Watford Junction via St Albans Abbey (change of direction), London Colney and Hatfield to Welwyn Garden City or further afield, being an east west rail service in Hertfordshire. In terms of an interchange between this service and the Midland Main Line (MML), London Colney would provide an interchange with a Thameslink service and, as a result, there would be no need for a new interchange station on the Midland Main Line (MML) nor for interchange at an existing station on the MML. Existing stations on the MML would remain unchanged.
Light rail at London Colney, without a conventional rail station, could connect on to the St Albans to Hatfield line, sharing track with conventional rail, providing a service to St Albans Abbey and Watford Junction. We suggest there would be a Thameslink service at St Albans Abbey.
Let us now illustrate this in the wider context of the Oxford to Cambridge arc. We take the opportunity to illustrate that the St Albans to Hatfield line is the former line except that the new line is located further to the south.
With a Bletchley to Luton connecting chord, illustrated above, we might anticipate a service between Oxford and Cambridge via St Albans and Stevenage. This would operate via Bletchley, Luton stations, St Albans City, London Colney, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City, Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth.
An extension of the Hertford East branch via Watton at Stone to Stevenage, as illustrated, is regarded as a future possibility and is not specifically proposed. By changing direction at Hertford East, there is potential for the service to Hertford East to be extended to Stevenage. By changing direction at Stevenage, there is potential for the service to be extended via Welwyn Garden City to Watford Junction. Alternatives could be considered, noting for example the dismantled line eastwards from Welwyn.
East west rail at Watford is regarded as a possibility, in which case a service between Oxford and Cambridge via St Albans and Stevenage could operate via Aylesbury and St Albans Abbey, not requiring paths (space/time slots) on the Midland Main Line. Alternatively, London Overground could be extended at least as far as St Albans Abbey presumably using Selective Door Operation.
It seems clear that the Watford Junction to St Albans Abbey branch line, a subject of discussion for many years, should be retained as part of the rail network.
Our research suggests there is value in a line eastwards from Bedford joining the ECML to provide Bedford to Stevenage, as illustrated. A service between Oxford and Stevenage provides Oxford with a limited interchange with the ECML at Stevenage. Lumo lumo.co.uk provides a long-distance ECML service calling at Stevenage.
In addition to an Oxford to Cambridge service via St Albans City and Hatfield,
an east west rail service in Hertfordshire between Watford Junction and Hertford North could be considered. This service could commence at Euston.
This could potentially be an extension of the existing Hertford loop service i.e. the service via Hertford North currently terminating at Stevenage,
providing an "out and back" service. There are potentially three routes :
(a) Euston, Watford Junction and intermediate stations to St Albans Abbey (change of direction), London Colney, Hatfield, Welwyn, Stevenage (change of direction), Hertford North. This also provides a direct service between Euston and stations on the Abbey line i.e. without having to change at Watford Junction.
(b) Euston, Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead, Bletchley, Bedford, Tempsford, Sandy, Stevenage, Hertford North.
(c) Euston, Watford Junction, Hemel Hempstead, Bletchley, Luton, St Albans City, London Colney, Hatfield, Welwyn, Stevenage (change of direction), Hertford North.
In addition to an Oxford to Cambridge service via St Albans City and Hatfield, an alternative east west rail service in Hertfordshire could be a Thameslink service via Radlett, St Albans Abbey (change of direction), Hatfield, Welwyn and Stevenage. This could provide an interchange with light rail, or an extension of the Metropolitan Line, at St Albans Abbey.
An interim proposal could be a Thameslink service via Radlett to St Albans Abbey, with provision of a rail service for London Colney which could be either light rail or Thameslink. This brings in to focus the requirement for a new line located along the north eastern boundary of Radlett Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) i.e. freight terminal as proposed on the former Radlett aerodrome site. Radlett SRFI can be assessed by viewing the illustrative masterplan provided by the proposers Illustrative Masterplan who have also made available a site location plan Site Location Plan (both open in a new window or tab). It is worthwhile to compare these, particularly the first, with the diagrammatic maps above for a St Albans to Hatfield line. We suggest it would be appropriate to plan this rail infrastructure, at least in the vicinity of the freight terminal, before the freight terminal is constructed. For example, the bridge over the MML would be dual track and aligned to be suitable both for the freight terminal and for a St Albans to Hatfield line.
Hertfordshire County Council's plans include an east west road-based Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project centred on the A414, known as Hertfordshire - Essex Rapid Transit (HERT). HERT is the result of plans made over a number of years on the assumption that east west rail in Hertfordshire is not feasible. Our research calls this assumption in to question. Our primary proposal in Hertfordshire is a St Albans to Hatfield conventional rail corridor. The basis for this is the assessment of business case. Not only does the business case seem to be good but also seems to be significantly stronger than for a Luton to Stevenage rail corridor. Given that Hertfordshire rail strategy includes the aspiration of a Luton to Stevenage rail corridor, we would strongly urge Hertfordshire County Council to consider abandoning the aspiration of a Luton to Stevenage rail corridor, with a St Albans to Hatfield rail corridor in its place.
It should be borne in mind that our diagrammatic maps are intended to illustrate railway infrastructure and are not to scale.
It is recommended to read part three of our research starting at the section "Impact on the Alban Way" Impact on the Alban Way through to the end. Then, to read part four of our research starting at the section "Connecting the Abbey line to Watford High Street" Connecting the Abbey line to Watford High Street through to the end. This is the suggested means to obtain an overview of our proposals and reasoning.
Part three (from the start) :
Oxford to Cambridge : east west rail in Hertfordshire
The following links are to sections in part three of our research and are listed in order of occurrence.
What would be the impact on the Alban Way ? :
Impact on the Alban Way
A new line from St Albans Abbey : A new line from St Albans Abbey
A review of Hertfordshire - Essex Rapid Transit (HERT), including our response to the public engagement November 2021 - January 2022 : A review of Hertfordshire - Essex Rapid Transit (HERT)
Trains passing at How Wood and ticket checks at the Abbey station : Trains passing at How Wood and ticket checks at the Abbey station
Extending the Abbey line to London Colney : Extending the Abbey line to London Colney
The Abbey line is being undermined : The Abbey line is being undermined
Outline business case : Outline business case
Part four (from the start) :
Oxford to Cambridge : St Albans to Hatfield and context
The following links are to sections in part four of our research and are listed in order of occurrence.
Metropolitan Line Extension revisited :
Metropolitan Line Extension revisited
Connecting the Abbey line to Watford High Street : Connecting the Abbey line to Watford High Street
Hertfordshire - Essex Rapid Transit (HERT) will not be trams : Hertfordshire - Essex Rapid Transit (HERT) will not be trams
HERT public engagement not properly conducted : HERT public engagement not properly conducted
Opposing the reduction in service frequency on the Abbey line : Opposing the reduction in service frequency on the Abbey line
Our Hertsrail project proposes a joined-up rail network in Hertfordshire and with a newsletter : hertsrail.org.uk (opens in new window or tab).
Welcome to our research concerning the East Coast Main Line (ECML).
We hypothesise Crossrail services on to the ECML via the West Anglia Main Line (WAML). Crossrail services on the ECML could replace some existing services to Kings Cross thereby taking pressure off the two track section between Knebworth and Welwyn Garden City.
Related article : Bypassing the Welwyn bottleneck : Crossrail to the ECML
We are proposing Aylesbury Interchange as a station stop on High Speed 2.
Related article : Proposal for Aylesbury Interchange on High Speed 2
Welcome to our research concerning services in the Camberley area.
Related article : Camberley : coming in from the cold
Welcome to our research concerning a Crossrail, or Crossrail 2, circular service via Reading. The route can be followed on our summary diagrammatic map :
Summary diagrammatic map : our projects in relation to one another (opens in new window or tab, click with magnifying glass).
Related article : Crossrail, or Crossrail 2, circular service via Reading
Tram lines are dangerous including for cyclists. We will never propose a tramway unless it is segregated.
Our current proposals, projects and articles are listed here : List of articles
RailEnable is also known as RailAble (RailAble.com)
How to search this website