Originally a small market town and a popular stop for travellers to the prosperous south, Watford significantly expanded after the opening of the London and North Western Railway in the late 1830s. The strong rail links to the capital enticed a large number of manufacturers, printers and breweries to take up the cheaper, well-positioned land, and a population boom followed. It’s a similar story today, with several national and multi-national companies maintaining headquarters in the town.
Watford’s first station opened in 1838 on the west side of St Albans Road. It still stands today and is known locally as the Old Station House. Watford Junction was built in 1858 a few hundred yards from the original building, then redeveloped in 1909 and again in 1984. The latest incarnation is a major hub where several lines converge – trains run to central and southeast London, as well as to destinations in the East and West Midlands.
Watford Junction is also very popular among Harry Potter fans as it's the nearest station to the Harry Potter Studios. Read our guide to how to get to the Harry Potter Studios by train for more details.
Watford Junction has eleven platforms, accessed via a subway, stairs and lifts from the main entrance and ticket hall. Platforms 1 to 4 are bay platforms opposite the south end of platform 6, and service the London Overground. All other platforms service national rail, with 6 closest to the entrance and 11 on the far side of the station, accessed via a pathway from platform 10. There is also direct access to platforms 9 and 10 from the long-stay car park.