We set out to investigate the options for providing an increased service on the Abbey Line.  We are now pleased that since our original request for support back in May 2017 we have now fully completed the Feasibility Study – thank you very much to our members, local councilors Asif Khan, Sandy Walkington & Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Abbey Line CRP who helped secure funding from ACoRP and the Department for Transport for all of your financial assistance and to Nigel Harris and his team at The Railway Consultancy for doing the work.

The whole report is available here and we have the following video which gives more information about the second part of the study.

The study highlights that the current users of the line are:

  • Within a small catchment of the station
  • Most users are people without access to a car – which implies that the Abbey Line isn’t really providing a service that attracts car-owners (likely because of the low train frequency, no access to St Albans city centre etc)
  • On the Abbey Line there is a lower preference for rail compared to bus, that is seen elsewhere (likely driven by poor performance, low train frequency)

The study looks at the impact the installation of a passing loop would have and it shows that it would be feasible to cover either the capital or the operational costs.  The study looks at ways to reduce the operational costs and highlights the opportunity to have the passing loop covered by the many building projects which are taking place in South West Hertfordshire.  These could prove to balance out the costs and would allow an improved service.

In summary the study has:

  • Identified a cheap practical scheme for both the capital and operational expenditure
  • Provided indicative demand, revenue and time-saving results
  • Produced some real numbers that can be used for meaningful discussion
  • Suggested some ways of improving the business case