Between King’s Cross and Uxbridge on the Metropolitan Line

INTRODUCTION

I made this journey a week ago en route to the Anna Kennedy Autism Expo at Brunel University. The journey divides naturally into several segments…

KING’S CROSS TO GREAT PORTLAND STREET

For this section of the route the Metropolitan line shares tracks with the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines, although on the day I travelled it those latter two lines were closed west of Baker Street, one reason why I did not have to wait long for a train to Uxbridge.

BAKER STREET TO FINCHLEY ROAD

For this section of the route the Metropolitan is directly above the Jubilee line (the Jubilee rises to the surface just beforc Finchley Road, and it and the Metropolitan run together for a time thereafter).

FINCHLEY ROAD TO WEMBLEY PARK

This is the section where the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines run side by side, tjhe Jubilee stopping at intermediate stations while the Metropolitan runs non-stop between Finchley Road and Wembley Park (with some ‘fast’ services running non-stop all the way to Harrow-on-the-Hill).

WEMBLEY PARK TO RAYNERS LANE

This is the section that is Metropolitan line only (with a connection to Chiltern Railways at Harrow-on-the-Hill).

RAYNERS LANE TO UXBRIDGE

This branch is shared by the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines (the Piccadilly having taken over the running of Uxbridge services from the District line in the 1930s). 

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…

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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…

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

Towards London Beyond Amersham