In the early 1830s George and Robert Stephenson planned out the route of the line from London to Birmingham, with much opposition from landowners affected by it. The route ran past Kings Langley. Started in 1834 the line was open as far as Boxmoor in 1837. In the first year excursion trains were run from Euston to Boxmoor Station and refreshments were provided for sightseers in a large marquee.
The building of the railway called for a very big labour force. Many of the workers came from far away and followed the work, dangerous though it was, as it moved down the line; but many local men and boys were engaged on it as well.
To begin with Kings Langley had no station of its own. Passengers had to go to Boxmoor or to Watford. In 1843 the second class fare from Boxmoor to Euston was 4s 6d. There were six down and up trains calling at Boxmoor each day and the time of the journey to Euston varied between 57 and 80 minutes.
In response to local requests, in which John Dickinson played an influential part, it was decided that Kings Langley should have a station, albeit only 'a second class station'. This was accomplished by 1839 and in 1846 when the Booksellers Provident Retreat was opened nearby 200 special guests arrived at the station for the ceremony.
Originally the line had only two tracks. A third track was added in 1857-59 and a fourth in 1875.
The line was not the London and Birmingham Railway for long as in 1846 the title was changed to the London and North Western Railway which it remained until 1923. From then until the railways were nationalised in 1948 it was the LMS (London Midland and Scottish). In 1966 the railway was electrified, entailing the raising of all the bridges over the line and other works of adaptation. The electrification has resulted in a much speedier service, increasing the area's attractiveness to people working in London.
Adapted from Palace, Priory and Mills KLLH&MS (1987)