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Herts Orbital Transit

There is a strong need for a transit system across the county linking up the main towns and offering a wide range of connections and journey opportunities, while at the same time reducing road traffic and its negative effects. 

The sections can be developed as follows:
  • Broxbourne – Hertford (12 kilometres) This would use the current Hertford East branch line for most of the way. However, it would make an eastern loop round the lake north of Broxbourne station and run north through the Essex road industrial area to rejoin the branch at Rye House. At Hertford it would leave the line east of the station to link up with the old formation for most of the way round the town centre.
  • Hertford – Welwyn Garden City (12 kilometres) This would use the old formation round to Hertford North and on to the Welwyn line, following this to a point on the east side of Welwyn Garden City. It would then follow an on-road / urban off-road route through the eastern side to reach the bridge over the railway into the town centre.
  • Welwyn Garden City – Hatfield (6 kilometres) This would follow an on-road / urban off-road route due south, across the railway and alongside the A1000 to Hatfield station and the town centre.
  • Hatfield – St Albans (8 kilometres) This would follow an on-road / urban off-road route to the Comet roundabout (University area) and then the old railway formation to the Fleetville area of St Albans. From there it would follow- an on-road route to St Albans City station and then the city centre.
  • St Albans – Watford (12 kilometres) This would follow an on-road route to the vicinity of the Abbey station and then use the current Abbey branch to reach Watford Junction.
The system would best be developed as a light rail line throughout. This would make it easier to route and run through the urban areas served. It would not constrain the performance or design of the vehicles to operate it. It would be operated by modern trams of up to 40+ metres long, with a maximum capacity of about 300 passengers.

A key feature of design would be links to main rail stations at all the lines crossed, as shown in sketch plan form in Figure 2. At the east end Broxbourne is a target for the proposed Crossrail 2, on which further study work has now been authorised by the government. At the west end, Watford Junction also provides links to the London Overground and to the London Underground Metropolitan Line via the Croxley link now under construction; this might also connect to a potential transit link through development down the west side of outer London.

In principle a full level of service would be assumed as every 10 minutes throughout the working day. The running speed would vary according to the nature of sections, i.e. fast on the former railway lines but slow through the urban areas. At an initial assumption of about 30 km/hr average overall, the end to end journey time would be about 90 minutes, i.e. 1½ hours. There could be short workings between key towns as well, overlaying the basic service, especially at peak periods.

With a round trip time, allowing for stands, of say 3 hours 20 minutes, the basic service would require 20 trams in service. Allowing for short workings and maintenance spares, the total required could amount to say 36-40. This would be a sound order for suppliers and would support a well equipped engineering and operational centre.
(click to enlarge)
Herts Orbital Transit (Reg Harman, Interfaces / URBED)
The HOT would use the two branch existing lines (Hertford East and St Albans Abbey) and trackbeds of closed east - west lines, complemented by new sections through the towns roads.