[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 1.11.1897
Location: On the north side of Campfield Road
Company on opening: Great Northern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1 October 1951
Date closed completely: 1 October 1951
Company on closing: British Railways (London Midland/Eastern Region)
Present state: Sleeper platform still extant alongside the Alban Way footpath
County: Hertfordshire
OS Grid Ref: TL163071
Date of visit: 11.4.2004
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 November 1883.

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 in 1942.

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.

On the southern outskirts of St. Albans a private business of orchid growing was established by Messrs. Sander & Sons. Their greenhouses were linked by a siding for the dispatch of orchids to market. The siding was also later used for the carriage of straw hats from Luton to London. A sleeper built platform halt was built for the use of Sander's staff. This was later also used by personnel from the Salvation Army's Campfield printing works. From the siding, Salvation Army periodicals were sent in large quantities for distribution around the world.

The station was opened as a Sanders Sidings as a private non time tabled halt by 1st November 1897 first appearing in a public timetable on 8th July 1929. It last appeared in the public timetable in September 1942 although it remained in use until the closure of the line in 1951. The siding remained in use until December 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, Hill End, Smallford, Nast Hyde Halt & Lemsford Road Halt

Salvation Army Halt on 11.4.2004
Photo by Nick Pedley

Salvation Army Halt on 11.4.2004
Photo by Nick Pedley


[Source: Nick Catford]

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