SideTracked Watford Junction
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Part of the SideTracked series, designed as quick cache-and-dashes at railway stations. The cache itself is a short walk away from Watford Junction Station and hidden along a public footpath in view of the tracks and is a magnetic key safe.
Watford Junction is a busy station in South West Hertfordshire, just outside London. The first Watford station on the line was opened in 1837 as part of Stephenson's London to Birmingham Railway from Euston. It moved to its present site and was renamed Watford Junction in 1858 when the branch line to St. Albans was opened. The simple original building can be seen just north of St. Albans Road on the east side of the bridge and is part of a car sales business.
Further lines from the station were opened to Rickmansworth (1862) and Croxley Green (1912), both of which have now been shut. The trackbed to Rickmansworth now forms the Ebury Way footpath which is an enjoyable walk starting near Wiggenhall Road to the southwest of the town centre. There are a number of caches along this route, so well worth a look. The line to Croxley Green is soon to be reused as part of the realignment of the Watford Branch of the Metropolitan Line to terminate it at Watford Junction rather than the current station on the other side of Cassiobury Park. The Bakerloo Line was extended to terminate at the station in 1917 but was withdrawn in 1982.
There are currently 10 platforms in use at the station. Platforms 1-4 for the slow service to London Euston. Platforms 6-7 are used by trains on the West Coast Main Line/ Trent Valley Line. Platforms 8-9 are used by trains between London Euston as far as Northampton and between South Croydon and Milton Keynes Central. Platform 10 is a terminating platform used for trains that start/finish their journey at this station. Platform 11 is for the St. Albans Abbey branch. Platform 5 currently has no track but the area between platform 1 and here will be relaid out to handle the new Metropolitan Line terminus.
At the time of writing, the front of the station is being remodelled to make it more pedestrian friendly and the size of the adjacent bus station is being increased.
The cache is hidden on a path that can get pretty busy during the morning and evening rush hour, especially after a train has just pulled in so please be careful when you retrieve and replace the container.
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