Trains on the Abbey Line will be out of action "until further notice", the line's operator has said.

Services between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey have been suspended since before Christmas and have yet to be reinstated.

Operator London Northwestern Railway (LNWR) is running replacement buses instead leaving commuters with longer journeys.

Before Christmas, LNWR confirmed the line would be shut until at least January 4 because of staff availability problems.

A statement issued today (January 17) reiterated that the company continues to deal with the same issues, with a spokesperson unable to give a date for when trains will return.

They said: "We are keeping our staffing levels under review as we continue to feel the impact of the Omicron variant. With community cases still at high levels, a significant number of railway staff are currently unable to work.

"In order to reduce the necessity to cancel trains at short notice due to staff shortages, we are running a reduced timetable until further notice on a number of our routes, including rail replacement buses on the Abbey Line.

"We will reinstate trains on the route as soon as staffing levels allow."

The Abbey Line serves Watford and St Albans as well as North Watford, Garston, Bricket Wood, How Wood, and Park Street.

The long-term outlook for the single-track Abbey Line however is positive with funding secured from the Government to look at implementing a "passing loop" on the line which would allow two services to run at once.

LNWR is also planning on investing in a new community hub at Bricket Wood station while once trains are up and running again, passengers will be able to get one direct service every weekday evening from London Euston all the way to St Albans Abbey.