Hertford-Dunstable Railway line

Built to transport waste from the capital

By Roger Filler

Great Northern Main line showing the branch line turning west around what is now The Campus
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
WGC Railway Halt 1920-26
Welwyn Garden City Library

Running from Hertford in the East to Dunstable in the west this branch line was already well-established before Welwyn Garden City came along. Built originally to transport waste from the capital to a dump near Dunstable, the branch line offered a well-established time table for goods and passengers.

All change at Hatfield

It had to cross the main GNER line running from Kings Cross and to travel from one end to another meant a change in Hatfield. The line west cut off just north of where the present railway station at Welwyn Garden is today, looped around the Campus, before heading through Sherrardspark woods towards Ayot.

WGC Railway Halt

It was on this loop that the first WGC railway halt was established in 1921, though the halt had been in use during the First World War for shipping timber to the front lines in France. From the halt early Garden Citizens would travel to Hatfield and then change on to the main line into London.  By May 1922 there were 25 trains a day and sidings and a goods yard were developed
After Welwyn Garden City station opened in September 1926, the halt was no longer used. The last passenger train to Hertford North ran in June 1951, though a goods service continued until the mid-1960s.

This page was added on 14/06/2009.

Add your comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Platform 4 was where I caught the Welwyn Garden City to Hertford line every August to stay with my uncle in Hertford. Passenger trains finished in June 1951, so after that you caught the train to Hertford but it went up to Stevenage then down to Hertford. It only stopped at Welwyn North and Knebworth – didn’t stop at Stevenage at all! At Easter I went to see my uncle in Stevenage so I had to catch the mainline train which was always full!

    By George Boston (01/10/2015)