Herts-Essex Rapid Transit

Suggestions for an east – west transit connecting town centres, suburban areas and major development sites across Hertfordshire’s central belt were first made in the 1980s, when some local interests proposed a Colne Valley Transit linking Watford and Hertford. This was studied in the 1990s by the County Council as the Central Herts Transit but no practical project emerged.

The idea developed as the Herts Orbital Transit project, a state of the art tramway from Broxbourne to Watford, routed through Hertford, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and St Albans, providing high quality public transport through a corridor with a population of about 300,000 and serving the town centres, other commercial and activity centres, the University of Hertfordshire and residential areas. The concept is now the Hertfordshire to Essex Rapid Transit (HERT) which links onward to Essex, and is supported by the Hertforshire Infrastructure and Development Board and the Hertfordshire Growth Board.

It would function as an additional spine for several ConnectedCity, capturing the resulting uplift in land values. Its impact on the development potential of Hertfordshire’s ConnectedCities would be enormous.

Greater Hertford would open up dramatically by connecting its two rail stations which are currently on either side of the town centre, and gain potential pedsheds on the new line to Welwyn.

Welwyn-Hatfied could incorporate a new green quarter to the east of Welwyn , a new green town at Cole Green and new green quarter to the west of Hatfield.

Greater St Albans would benefit greatly from linking the Abbey line to the main station, and from opportunities for a new green quarter at Hill End and a new green town at Smallford.

Greater Watford’s stations would operate in a more coordinated manner, and Bricket Wood could become a new green town around the new station, incorporating a community forest.

The nine potential ConnectedCities of Hertfordshire showing potential pedsheds. Those of the same colour are in the same ConnectedCity

Herts Orbital Transit (Reg Harman, Interfaces / URBED)

The HOT would use the two branch existing lines (Hertford East and St Albans Abbey) and trackbeds of closed east - west lines, complemented by new sections through the towns roads.

Initial analysis indicates that there are potentially eight other ConnectedCities in Hertfordshire.


has little room for greenfield development as it is part of flood plain of the River Lee, which affects much of Cheshunt, and so restricts the available space for development within the pedsheds.

Greater Watford

has reasonable potential but low until the interurban transport is improved.

Greater Hertford

has big potential but it is low until there is interurban transport across the county town of Hertford.


has considerable scope for town growth zones and new green quarters.

Greater Royston

can probably continue to grow until the end of the century and beyond.


could accommodate possible new green town(s).

Greater St Albans

is limited because the Abbey line does not connect with the main rail station which will be the hub.


contains potential sites for new green towns.