Dicky & Dotty say it’s all over…

Apparently news is emerging that The Mayor of London has has signed the Transport & Works Act approval notice to proceed with the Croxley Rail Link although the findings of the ‘public’ inquiry promised first last October and then this spring never actually made it into the public domain – odd that? 

richard-dorothy

As reported today in the Watford Observer: 

Watford’s MP Richard Harrington welcomed the announcement but expressed disappointment that Watford Met would be sacrificed as part of the scheme.

He said: “This announcement is hugely important for the future of the Croxley Rail Link, and in turn for the future of the town. We have been pushing for this order at the highest level for some time and I am very pleased that it now has the go ahead.

“From my regular meetings with Hertfordshire County Council and others I know how key this decision was and I am looking forward to seeing the next steps in action.

“Naturally I am very disappointed that our efforts to keep the Met station open were not successful but I do think that it has been necessary in securing the viability of the project as a whole and the benefits it will bring across the board.”

The article goes on to say

Elected mayor Dorothy Thornhill said: “At last we’ve got the news we’ve been waiting decades to hear, that this exciting project will indeed happen.

“It will make a huge, positive difference to the people living in West Watford and help to rejuvenate this part of town. “I am disappointed about the closure of Cassiobury Met station – local councillors fought hard to keep it open – but considerably more people will benefit from the new station plans than from the existing rail links.”

Of course the Mayor of Watford (who ought to know the station is called Watford, not “Cassiobury” as quoted above) and MP actually did nothing to help save the station apart from exude empty political platitudes.  A true Liberal-Conservative alliance of self-advancement.

However “hard fought” it really was to keep Watford Met open, the whole thing must be a carefully orchestrated political gamble on the parts of Dicky & Dotty since they also studiously ignored the 1100+ signatures on the petition to save the station

However it will be interesting to see if the Mayor of London has yet approved the closure of Watford Met, technically a separate matter, since there has been no formal response on the findings and recommendations of London Travelwatch from September 2012.  It stipulated:

  • For about half of existing passengers there will be a longer walking journey to the proposed new stations, but this additional walk will be short for most. Only a small number of existing passengers will have longer than a 15 minute additional journey but a requirement for Hertfordshire County Council to make pedestrian and cycling route improvements and provide a bus service between the Cassiobury Park area and the new stations for a period of three years would reduce this hardship.
  • London TravelWatch recommends that a discretionary fare is agreed, for a limited time period, to allow the small group of passengers who, in the event of closure of Watford Station, would have to either walk to the new fare zone 7 stations or pay the additional fare from Watford High Street and Watford Junction stations, to use the Metropolitan line at London fare zone 7 levels.
  • London TravelWatch also believes that there is a business case for a Croxley Rail Link that retains Watford station as part of a split service, albeit with fewer overall benefits than LUL’s preferred option. The Closure Panel recommends that a trial split service is trialled, serving both Watford and Watford Junction stations, to determine the real passenger numbers and issues involved with the running of a split service serving both Watford and Watford Junction stations prior to a final decision on the closure of Watford station. The trial could last for two years from the opening of the Croxley Rail Link to 2018 when the new signalling is due to be completed on the Metropolitan line when there will, presumably, be a major retimetabling programme.

If anyone would like to comment on suggestions for the split service to be trialled for two years, please fill in our short survey. We will undertake to submit findings to TFL.

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