The first railway station to open in Watford was situated on the north side of St Albans Road, approximately 200 metres (220 yd) further up the line from the present-day station. This small, single-storey red-brick building was built 1836-7 when the first section of the London and Birmingham Railway (L+BR) was opened between London and Boxmoor. The station provided first and second-class waiting rooms, a departure yard, a carriage shed and engine house. The platforms were situated in a deep cutting which was accessed via a staircase. In its 21 years of operation it also served as a station for royalty; in the short period when the Dowager Queen Adelaide was resident at Cassiobury House (c.1846-49), this station was remodelled to provide her with a royal waiting room, and it was also reportedly used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on a trip to visit Sir Robert Peel in November 1843, when they travelled by road from Windsor Castle to take a train from Watford to Tamworth. The old station closed when it was replaced by a new, larger station, which opened on 5 May 1858. The new Watford Junction station was located south of St Albans Road in order to accommodate the newly constructed branch line to St Albans. The junction station was rebuilt in 1909, and was extensively redeveloped in the 1980s. The Grade-II-listed Old Station House still stands at 147A St Albans Road, a rare surviving example of architecture from the beginning of the railway age, and today the building is occupied by a second-hand car dealership. In 1862, the Watford and Rickmansworth Railway opened a route from Watford to Rickmansworth (Church Street). Now mostly closed, this route began by running south and west to a more central station on Watford's High Street, which remains in use. From 1846, the L+BR was absorbed into the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) and Watford Junction was now run by this large, ambitious company. Seeking to compete with local buses and trams, the LNWR built an additional suburban line from Euston to Watford in the early years of the 20th century, now known as the Watford DC Line. This veered away from the main line at Bushey to loop around Watford to pass through the High Street station.
A second suburban branch line was also built from High Street west towards Croxley Green to serve new housing developments in that area. Both branches were later electrified as part of this improvement plan, on the same DC three-rail system. The Rickmansworth branch was connected to the Main Line via two through platforms with a junction to the north; these platforms have since been partly built over and their remaining southern sections form part of the present DC lines terminus. At one time tube-style trains were used on the branches to counter the low voltage caused by the lack of a sub-station near Rickmansworth. The Bakerloo line was extended to Watford Junction in 1917, giving a shared service north of Willesden Junction with the main line electric trains which served Euston and Broad Street stations. However, since 1982 the line north of Harrow + Wealdstone has only been served by what is now the London Overground service from Euston station; this service uses these DC lines for its "all stations" local service. Oyster Card capability was extended to this station on 11 November 2007 on both the London Overground and Southern. It was extended to London Midland services on 18 November 2007. However, the station is outside London fare zones 1–9 and special fares apply. With the electrification of the entire West London Line in the 1990s, it became practical to run services from Watford Junction to Clapham Junction, allowing passengers to cross London without changing trains. Southern rail now operate an hourly service from Milton Keynes through Watford to East Croydon with connections to Brighton and Gatwick.
Platform Usage: Platforms 1-4: Bay platforms for the three trains per hour London Overground Service (Watford DC Line) to London Euston calling at all stations. Platform 6: For the hourly Virgin trains service to Birmingham New Street and fast London Midland services northbound. Platform 7: For fast London Midland services to London Euston and Virgin services only to set down. Platform 8: For slow and semi-fast London Midland services northbound and Southern services to Milton Keynes usually from East Croydon or South Croydon and additional services from Clapham Junction, Balham, Selhurst and Kensington Olympia. Platform 9: For slow, semi-fast and fast London Midland services to London Euston, and Southern services to East Croydon or South Croydon and additional services to Kensington Olympia, Selhurst, Balham and Clapham Junction. Platform 10: For terminating Southern services to and from Kensington Olympia and Clapham Junction in peak hours and on Sundays. There are additional terminating services to and from East Croydon, Balham, Selhurst and South Croydon on weekdays. London Midland operate 2 trains on weekdays at 07:55 and 08:15 to London Euston in the morning, whilst one train terminates from London Euston at 17:55. Platform 11: Used for the service every 45 minutes to St Albans Abbey. It is limited to four coaches. Platform 5 was used by the Bakerloo line services of the London Underground until 1982, and removed as part of the subsequent major rebuild. The planned Croxley Rail Link, currently under construction, will divert the Metropolitan line's Watford branch via the disused Croxley Green branch to terminate at Watford Junction. It is expected to open to passenger service in 2018. Special fares apply. The station has toilets, cash machines, payphones, lifts, a car park, boarding ramps and a waiting room.
Connections: National Rail. London bus routes 142, 258 and non-London routes W7, 306, and 5, 6A, 6D, 8, 10, 41, 80, GE3, R8, W1, W2, W20 and W19 serve the station. Green Line route 724 stops in the station forecourt. It runs directly to St Albans and Harlow from Stop 2 and to Heathrow Terminal 5 via Heathrow Central and Rickmansworth station from stops 5/6. Buses for the Harry Potter Studio Tour.