St Albans and St Albans Abbey

INTRODUCTION

I was inspired to create this post by reading a wonderful piece about a walk in Roman St Albans by Debbie Smyth on travelwithintent, of which much more later. Walking will bulk quite large throughout this post.

TWO VERY DIFFERENT STATIONS

St Albans station is a reasonably major station just beyond the official boundary of Greater London. Services to this station are fast and fairly frequent – a non-stop service from St Pancras takes approximately 20 minutes to reach St Albans.

St Albans Abbey station is at the end of a small branch line with not very frequent services (I have travelled it more than once). The other end of the line is at Watford Junction, and there is at present no through connection. Here are some maps for your assistance…

The connections.
The connections.
A closer focus on the branch and two St Albans stations.
A closer focus on the branch and two St Albans stations.
The walking route between the two stations (extracted from google maps)
The walking route between the two stations (extracted from google maps)

SPECULATIVE SECTION

I have made mention of St Albans and its potentialities for greater public transport integration in a number of previous posts:

  • In “The Great Anomaly“, my post on the Metropolitan line, I mentioned it in explaining my idea for the using the Amersham and Watford branches (which would cease to be part of the Metropolitan) as part of an envisaged London Orbital Railway.
  • In my post on the Bakerloo Line I wrote about re-extending the Bakerloo to Watford Junction and then having it take over the St Albans Abbey shuttle service, with a through connection being established at Watford Junction.
  • In my post on the Central Line I explained in detail my envisaged London Orbital Railway and its connections.
  • In London Underground’s Worst Bodge Job, my post on the Northern line, I suggested splitting the line into two halves, with the Edgware/ Charing Cross half being extended north from Edgware as to Luton Airport Parkway, following the mainline from Elstree & Borehamwood on, and south from Kennington to Gatwick Airport.

Tying all these together my future for St Albans’ public transport connections involves:

  1. The Metropolitan’s current Watford scheme (extending to Watford Junction from Croxley, abandoning the current terminus) would be subsumed within the Orbital Railway, which would also make use of an adaptation of the plan outlined in Colne Valley Transit Proposal shown below:
    DSCN4159In my version of the scheme, which sees it become part of the London Orbital Railway, the Met keeps its Chesham terminus, and the new scheme runs service through Amersham.
  2. The Bakerloo takes over the St Albans Abbey branch, running services straight through to St Albans. As will be revealed later in this post I have an idea for a further possible extension in St Albans to increase integration.
  3. The Northern line Edgware and Charing Cross branches become the nucleus of a line running from Gatwick Airport to Luton Airport Parkway.

TWO GREAT WALKS

WALK 1: ROMAN ST ALBANS (DEBBIE SMYTH)

I start this section with the walk Debbie Smyth talks about in “A Roamin’ Walk through Roman St Albans“. To encourage you to read and comment on Debbie’s splendid post I offer you two pictures and the opening paragraph…

St Alban’s is first recorded as a Celtic British Iron Age settlement, known as Verlamion.  After the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, it grew into Verlamium, the third largest town in Roman Britain…

The route map
The route map

To view the original map picture click here.

A sample picture (there are many more in the original)
A sample picture (there are many more in the original)

The original of the above picture can be viewed here.

To view the full post (and I reiterate my encouragement of you to do so) click here.

WALK 2: ST ALBANS – WATFORD
(FROM COUNTRY WALKS AROUND LONDON)

This walk, which I did many years ago when I still lived in London is also well worth a look. I have the route map, a picture showing the whole walk, and individual shots of each double page it occupies…

DSCN4157

Walk

DSCN4153 DSCN4156 DSCN4155 DSCN4154

THE VERULAMIUM MUSEUM

Mention has already been made of St Albans’ significance in Roman times, and this final section adds to that by pointing to the Verulamium Museum as an establishment comfortably walkable from both stations at which you can find out more about this history. Here are some maps showing the walking routes…

Walking there from the minor station.
Walking there from the minor station.

To view the original of this map and written instructions, click here.

Walking there from the major station.
Walking there from the major station.

To view the original of this map and written instructions, click here.

The plan that occurred to me based on these maps (and it would need to very sensitively devised if it were to go ahead) was for an extension from St Albans Abbey to a dedicated station for the Verulamium Museum and then a new terminus at St Albans for an interchange to the main station.

I hope that you have all enjoyed this look at St Albans, a fascinating and historic town on London’s doorstep.

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