Metroland

INTRODUCTION

I covered this topic briefly during my post about the Metropolitan lineHowever, that was an overview of a whole line, and a large number of the stations included within Metroland are no longer served by the Metropolitan, indeed a good few no longer exist at all.

THE CREATION OF THE METROPOLITAN

As the very name Metropolitan Railway suggests it was not originally envisaged that this line would ever serve anywhere outside London. City solicitor Charles Pearson, whose original idea it was, envisaged and underground railway linking all of London’s main line termini, and possibly ultimately the construction of a single super-terminus but he did not see his creation in other than strictly central London terms.

Pearson actually died before his greatest project came to fruition. The second individual to stamp his personality on the Metropolitan was Edward Watkin, who saw the Met as playing a role in his grand scheme to provide railway connections between his three favourite cities, Paris, London and Manchester (he was approximately 20 miles short, construction work having started on a tunnel under the channel before fears of a French invasion led to a veto – and it would be a century later that this last link was completed.

It was this that led to a vast north-western expansion of the Met, and although the outer reaches have long gone, and Met trains no longer travel past Amersham, it is still the case that only 1/16th of the Met is in tunnel. In Met terms, there were at the height of the expansion three bifurcation points, at Harrow-on-the-Hill, which is still a major fork, Chalfont and Latimer (also still a branching point), and at Quainton Road beyond Aylesbury (no longer served). Watkin also developed the Great Central Railway company, with a London terminus at Marylebone (today’s Chiltern Railways), and viewed from their perspective the area we are covering looked like this…

DSCN8302

METROLAND

Watkin died in harness, and his place was taken by Robert Hope Selbie, deviser of the concept of Metroland. It made use of the vast swathes of land owned by the Metropolitan, providing housing developments for people who wanted to live with in easy travelling distance of London, and it kept the outer reaches of the Met going until the mid 1930s, while Quainton Road endured as a Met terminus until 1947, and Aylesbury remained a London Underground destination until 1965, and of course is still served by Chiltern Railways. Selbie’s own publicity took the form of this map…

DSCN8369

Here are close-ups of the inner and outer halves of this map…

Towards London Beyond Amersham

 

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