Work starts to upgrade historic Hemel Hempstead railway line for walking and cycling

The Nickey Line closed to rail transport in 1979
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Resurfacing work has begun by Dacorum Borough on a section of a popular footpath and cycleway, the historic Nickey Line.

The former Harpenden to Hemel Hempstead branch line closed to rail transport in 1979 and the land was bought by DBC and St Albans City and District Council. Since the 1980s, it has been popular with the public after opening as a footpath and cycleway.

Now, the Hemel Garden Communities Programme will resurface the link from Queensway to Redbourn Road, using tar and chip to provide durability and traction.

The line pictured in 1959The line pictured in 1959
The line pictured in 1959

Chair of Hemel Garden Communities Board, Bob Lane OBE, said: “We’re delighted to be able to carry out these latest improvements to the Nickey Line.”

He explained: “It’s already enjoyed by many residents in the local community and as the town grows into the future, we hope to make it even more of a local asset, with additional connections to make it easier for people to leave the car at home and walk and cycle to work and around the town.”

The works follow the resurfacing work that took place in the summer of 2021, to connect the residential areas around Hunters Oak and the Swallow Fields development, with Maylands Business Park.

The upgrade of the Nickey Line forms part of a long-term plan to encourage more active travel in the area, helping tackle the challenges of climate change and encouraging healthier lifestyles. The council’s ultimate ambition is to re-connect the route through Hemel Hempstead town centre and the train station, to enable rail passengers to travel sustainably door-to-door.