Author Topic: Hatfield to St Albans by rail  (Read 6607 times)

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Offline MC

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Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« on: September 17, 2002, 04:56:42 pm »
I was clearing out some stuff when I found an old OS map of the area. Well I say old, it was a 1974 copy but that's old enough.

In addition to the fact that most of the major road junctions seem to have changed and there's no M25 etc I also noticed that there used to be a number of additional railway lines in the area. They were gone by 74 and are all marked as "cse of old rly".

One such line went to St Albans from Hatfield via Smallford.

It would be interesting to find out more.

Does anybody know anything about this line, who ran it, what it's history was etc. Or failing that any ideas about where I could find out more?

There were other lines from Welwyn to Luton via Wheathampstead and also another that seemed to go from Luton to Hemel.

Almost sounds like effective public transport..............
 

Phil_Holm

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Re: Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2002, 05:11:25 pm »
Hi MC,

Clearing out some stuff you say.  Are you going somewhere?

Anyway about the old railway line.  When I used to live with my parents in Hatfield, the old railway line was at the end of the garden.  I can only remember 1 or 2 trains a day, as it was only a single track.

It was closed probably 25 years ago with the track being taken up and some of the bridges knocked down.

It is now a bridlepath, and very occasionally I ride along it.  It's possible to go from Hatfield to St.Albans bypassing all the major roads.  The route goes along past the Galleria.

Hope it helps.

I don't hold out much hope of you getting it re-instigated though.

Phil
« Last Edit: September 17, 2002, 05:13:39 pm by Phil_Holm »
 

Offline sasquartch

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Re: Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2002, 05:34:31 pm »
I think it's now called the Alban Way, its a bit better than a bridlepath and quite well surfaced, at least when I last cycled along it a few years ago.
From the Galleria it goes under the main road (A1001 ??) towards Smallford. There you can still see the platform of the old station. It passes under the bridge at the top of Colney Heath Lane towards Ashley Road. After Ashley Road the line is lost a little but the path can still be followed and I think it eventually comes out near the Abbey Station. Being the site of a railway its pretty flat so an ideal cycle route.
 

Offline James Bentall

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Re: Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2002, 05:40:26 pm »
MC

I've done a quick web search and got very bored in the process :)

There used to be a line running from Hatfield - St Albans via Smallford. It was only ever single track, and used to terminate at St Albans Abbey station. It was run by Great Northern.

There was talk a few years ago of putting a tram service along there and continuing it to Watford. I would have used it, but I don't think anything ever came of the plans.

There's a bit of information about it on this incredibly long link:

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=st+albans+hatfield+railway+group:uk.railway&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&selm=368cec6b.46657816%40news.dial.pipex.com&rnum=1

If you want to find out more, I would suggest subscribing to the newsgroup uk.railway and asking your question there.


James
« Last Edit: September 17, 2002, 05:42:35 pm by James_Bentall »
James Bentall, Brookmans Park, Herts.
I post in a personal capacity and not on behalf of North Mymms Parish Council
 

Offline MC

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Re: Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2002, 01:12:07 am »
Well thanks all. That was a quick response !!

Another reason I was wondering about it is because I also recently threw out about 50 old copies of Railway Modeller - what a thing to admit eh - that have been sitting in the loft for about 20 years.

The two things together got me thinking that if I ever did anything with the "toy train" stuff that's also been in the loft for 20 years (other than selling it of course) then the local area has a lot of possibilities if you just work back to say 1950.

Anybody got any ideas on reference material re these lines and/or Hatfield or Welwyn stations from where they originated?

Even if I don't re-open the train set box - which seems easily the most likely outcome - then the whole subject is interesting from a local history point of view. What traffic used the lines I wonder? Presumably the Beeching thing shut them but somebody must have thought it was a good idea to open them in the first place. It just makes me curious about that era
 

Offline James Bentall

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Re: Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2002, 01:44:16 am »
Quote
What traffic used the lines I wonder? Presumably the Beeching thing shut them but somebody must have thought it was a good idea to open them in the first place. It just makes me curious about that era


Look at the link I gave you -

"Here at The Abbey another branch joined from Hatfield, long closed to passenger traffic then, however several coal trains each day traversed the line to bring in fuel for the Gas Works at the Abbey Junction. Which I can only just remember, though I believe it was fairly large
complex and had long since disappeared."

James
James Bentall, Brookmans Park, Herts.
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Offline MC

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Re: Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2002, 03:02:06 pm »
James- thanks, I did see that too. It begs the next obvious question of what era did passenger traffic run etc. I found out there is a book or paper on the subject - it's just a question of finding a copy. Will post something if i ever find out
 

Mary_Morgan

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Re: Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2002, 12:32:17 am »
Think this track also used to run in the other direction to Hertford as well.

Mary
 

John_fraser

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Re: Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2002, 04:31:30 pm »
Fiona & I walked this route about 7 years ago. Sadly I can't recomend it. Basically its a long ally with little to see. Far better walks around here.
 

Offline Alfred the Great

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Re: Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2002, 12:17:36 am »
I think you may find a book on this line at Patons bookshop in Holywell Hill in St Albans. Not certain, but if they haven't got it, it probably doesn't exist.

As it happens I also have a pile of old Railway Modellers (early 80's vintage) and some other more advanced railway modelling magazines (can't remember the name off hand) in the loft if anyone wants them.

Does anybody remember the large train track in the garden of the lodge at the end of the Drive opposite the BBC station? I think it was 1 Guage (don't ask what that is in millimetres) and the then owner used to run live steam locos and fully sprung teak bodied coaches around it. Believe it or not, the then owner told me that he used to get vandals in there tearing up the track. I suppose he got fed up with it and lifted the remaining track, but you can just about make out the old oval route (before the current owner calls the police to stop you casing the joint.........).

ATG
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Offline Bob Horrocks

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Re: Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2002, 09:26:56 pm »
Herts County Council did some research about two years ago into developing a light railway link from Welwyn garden City (?) via Hatfield to St Albans.  It then went quiet so I assume it is a non-starter.  It would have made use of closed railway lines like this one, but parts of some ex-lines have been built on.  I did have a copy of a report but cannot put my hands on it just now.
You might ask the local history society if they have any info.

Offline john

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Re: Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2002, 06:39:43 pm »
The proposed "tramlink" project  -  in which I had some involvement to a degree  -  effectively failed early-on on (principally) business-case grounds:   the confidence-limit for sufficiently high (and sustained) numbers of future users was regarded as too low.
The comparable scheme completed two years ago across South London is just about keeping its head above water ...  
 

Offline MC

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Re: Hatfield to St Albans by rail
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2002, 02:52:44 am »
I tried cycling part of this today. It is a long alley as John F says. It's interesting to see where it went though. A couple of platforms still sit there in the undergrowth. All fairly low key though  - I should think they are about 2 carriages long.

I found there is a book about it but it's out of print. I'm seeking a copy in a very low grade of effort sort of way............
 

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