The Abbey Line Community Rail Partnership (CRP) has worked with London Northwestern Railway and rail users’ group Abfly to bring in a new timetable on the Abbey Line, marking the occasion with a Santa train event for the local community.
Sunday 11 December saw the launch of later train services on the Abbey Line, as well as new and easy to remember clock-face scheduling and better connections at Watford.
To celebrate, St Albans Mayor Cllr Geoff Harrison and his festive helpers boarded the annual Santa Express, organised by the Abbey Line CRP. Entertainment was provided by Chasing Deer band, Lewis Joss contemporary magician and Random Mike balloon modelling.
The event was supported by London Northwestern Railway, Abfly rail users’ group, Watford BID, St Albans BID and volunteers from Communities 1st, Park Street Residents Association and Hertfordshire County Council.
Sandy Walkington, Chair of the Abbey Line CRP, said: “There is a new easy to remember daytime clockface with trains leaving at the same time each hour. There are better connections at Watford Junction, not just to the North Pole! And the cream on the cake is provided by new late evening services, allowing people to use the train when they go out in Watford or St Albans.”
Vicky Cropper-Clarke, Head of Stakeholder and Community at London Northwestern Railway, said: “After some challenging years, it was wonderful to have the Santa Express back on the Abbey Line. The event gathered so much laughter and happiness, it was a great start to the Christmas festivities.
“Events like the Santa Express don’t happen without the hard work of all the volunteers, so thank you for delivering such a fantastic day for everyone. We really hope people will take advantage of the later evening services on our new timetable and explore things to do in both Watford and St Albans.”
The new timetable is available on the Abbey Line CRP website, and hard copies will be available at Watford Junction Station, selected supermarkets, libraries, hotels and tourist attractions in the Watford and St Albans area (with a full list available on the website).