Notes: St. Albans Abbey Station preceded the main line Midland
Railway station by 10 years; it became the terminus of two branch
lines, the LNWR line from Watford and the GNR line from Hatfield.
There were several early proposals to provide St. Albans with
a rail service and on 4th August 1853 the LNWR received parliamentary
approval to construct a line from Watford; the single track branch
opening on 4th May 1858. In 1861 the GNR lent its support to a
proposal to build a branch line from Hatfield in order to attract
some of the lucrative commuter revenue. Authority was obtained
on 30 June 1862 and the line was built by the Hatfield & St.
Albans Railway with the support of the GNR. The branch was opened
on 16th October 1865 and eventually absorbed into the GNR on 1st
There was initially only one station at St. Albans (later named
St. Albans London Road) with further intermediate stations opening
at Smallford in 1866, Sanders Siding (later Salvation Army Halt)
in 1897, Hill End in 1899, Nast Hyde in 1910 and Lemsford Road
The Hatfield - St. Albans branch was an early casualty under
British Railways, closing throughout to passengers on 1st October
1951; freight traffic lingered into the 1960's.
The former line now forms 6½ miles long Alban
Way, which opened in 1985 as part of National Cycle Route
no. 61 between Hatfield and St. Albans. The route is owned by
the City & District Council of St. Albans, managed by the
Parks & Leisure Department, and Welwyn Hatfield Council. The
route acts as a 'wildlife corridor' within two busy urban areas
of Hertfordshire. The section along the old 'Smallford Trail'
is also a County Wildlife Site.
The station at Hill End was opened on 1st May 1899 to serve the
Hertfordshire County Mental Hospital. Passengers were set down
there on request to the guard. At Hill End a 400 yards siding
ran south into the hospital for delivering coal and stores; it
provided useful additional goods revenue for the branch. Although
passenger traffic was withdrawn in 1951 freight traffic continued
until 5th October 1964.
For further reading see Hertfordshire's
lost railways by Keith Scholey ISBN ISBN 1 84033231 X
See other stations on the St. Albans Abbey - Hatfield Line: St.
Albans London Road, Salvation
Army Halt, Smallford,
Nast Hyde Halt