Crunch talks centred on the future of the Metropolitan Line Extension took place between some of the country’s foremost politicians yesterday (Thursday).

The proposed scheme will connect the Metropolitan Line in Croxley to several brand new stations across Watford, and was originally expected to cost around £284 million.

However this estimation has spiralled, with Transport for London (TfL) now quoting a delivery figure closer to £360 million.

The future of the project now hangs in the balance as, although previous Mayor of London Boris Johnson pledged £49 million towards its completion, recent TfL cost projections show that a further £50 million will be required before construction work can begin.

Hillingdon Times:

Plans for the Metropolitan Line Extension continue to be amended despite the funding shortfall

So far none of the parties involved in the project – TfL, the Department for Transport (DfT), Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and Watford Borough Council – have agreed to stump up the extra cash.

Watford MP Richard Harrington and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions David Gauke – also the MP for South West Hertfordshire – met with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan face-to-face on Thursday afternoon in an attempt to get the stricken development moving again.  

Ahead of the talks, Mr Harrington admitted there was a possibility the project could be scrapped in the same way as the failed Garden Bridge scheme – another one of Boris Johnson’s pet projects.

The Watford MP said: “There is a risk it won’t happen but we have got to get there and I am using every weapon I have got. I just hope common sense prevails.

“It’s the most important part of investment in the constituency - everyone is onside.

“He [Sadiq Khan] is saying in public he wants to operate some franchises outside of London. Here’s a small project with big economic benefits for London and Hertfordshire and he’s saying no to it.

“It’s pure politics from Sadiq Khan and Labour. It is extremely frustrating.

“I will tell him how important it is for my constituents, and for London as well. I don’t really know him but I have a lot of respect for him.”

In a bid to secure the required funding, Mr Harrington proposes that TfL pays the deficit and takes over management of the new stretch of track from Network Rail, collecting all revenue on fares and in time making a handsome profit.

David Gauke added: “It is important that the Metropolitan Line Extension is built, and it is right that we work together to find a way in which that can be done.”

Following discussions between London Underground and Watford Borough Council, plans outlining amendments to the design and layout of the proposed Vicarage Road station were submitted in July.

The proposed changes to the station include the introduction of new “back of house” escape routes to the north and south of the station, revisions to cycle stand arrangements, and amendments to external lighting.

The proposed changes to the station include the introduction of new “back of house” escape routes to the north and south of the station, revisions to cycle stand arrangements, and amendments to external lighting.