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). 

Greenwich

INTRODUCTION

The inspiration for this post came from a post on estersblog, which I link to by way of one of her splendid pictures at the end of this introduction. I will briefly mention by name all the stations that are within walking distance of Greenwich proper (North Greenwich, in spite of the second part of it’s name does not count), then I will provide links to some of the main sites that Greenwich has to offer, and I will conclude by describing a hypothetical day trip from King’s Lynn, where I now live to Greenwich.

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THE STATIONS

When the Docklands Light Railway first opened its southern terminus was Island Gardens, thought it has subsequently been extended south, via a new station at Cutty Sark to Lewisham. In addition to Island Gardens and Cutty Sark there are two mainline railway stations which are within walking distance of these attractions, Greenwich and Maze Hill. Having paid lip service to all four stations, and acknowledging the value of Cutty Sark station for those whose mobility is restricted, I serve notice that only two of these stations will receive further mention.

THE ATTRACTIONS

The whole area deserves to be explored properly, but here are four places particularly worthy of mention:

  1. The Cutty Sark – how many ships get to have a station named in their honour? This tea clipper well repays a visit and is a good starting point. For more about this attraction click on the image below to visit the official website.
    Cutty Sark
  2. The Gipsy Moth pub. Right by the Cutty Sark is a high quality pub where you can take refreshment before heading off to the other attractions. Click the picture below to find out more at their website:
    Pub in Greenwich
  3. The National Maritime Museum – set in a lovely area of parkland that also includes my final attraction, this museum has added many new exhibits since my last visit. Click on the image below to visit their website:
    A detail from 'Emma Hart as Circe' by George Romney ©Tate, London 2016
  4. Last but by no means least of the Greenwich fab four is the Royal Observatory which also now houses the London Planetarium (and if the latter is as good as it was in its Baker Street days you are in for a real treat). Click on the image below, which I took as part of my paid employment while imaging an old album that will be going under the hammer in James and Sons’ April auction, to visit the website:

A HYPOTHETICAL DAY TRIP FROM
KING’S LYNN TO GREENWICH

While there is little to be done about the King’s Lynn to London and back element of the journey except hope that there are not too many disruptions, there are lots of public transport options for getting to and from Greenwich, and this section of the post gives a route with a couple of variations that involves no going back the way we came. 

Alighting at King’s Cross, I would head down to the Northern line platforms and get a southbound train to Bank, where I would change to the Docklands Light Railway and travel to Island Gardens (not Cutty Sark), from where I would start the pedestrian section of my journey. Alighting at Island Gardens, no longer satisfactory as in the days of the original elevated terminus, I would pass under the Thames, by way of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel to arrive at my first attraction, the Cutty Sark.

Once I had finished looking round the Cutty Sark I would head to the nearby Gipsy Moth pub for a pint of something decent before heading to the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory in that order. If possible I would sample the Planetarium while there.

For the journey back to King’s Cross I would head to Greenwich railway station, take a train to London Bridge, where I would head for the Jubilee line and catch a train heading in the direction of Stanmore. There are three possibilities for completing the circuit to King’s Cross from here:

  1. The quickest option, but also the one I would be least likely to take, would be to change at Green Park to the Victoria line (the interchange is long and often unpleasantly crowded, as is the equally possible interchange to the Piccadilly line at this same station) and travel north to King’s Cross.
  2. The middle option, and the one that I would be likeliest to take, is to travel along the Jubilee line as far as Baker Street and then ascend the escalator to the Metropolitan/ Circle/ Hammersmith and City line platforms, travelling east from there to King’s Cross.
  3. If time allowed and I was feeling so inclined I might stay on the Jubilee line until Finchley Road and make the cross-platform interchange to the Metropolitan line there.

SOME MAPS

Here to end the post are some maps:

We start with a picture showing the Docklands Light Railway and it’s connections, as this line bulks large in the story of this post.
This picture shows the whole area featured in my hypothetical day trip.
A close up of the area of interest from a public transport point of view.
A close up photo of part an old A-Z map page.

 

 

Big Wheels Old and New

INTRODUCTION

This post was inspired by a number of lots that will be featuring in James and Sons’ next auction (20th – 22nd February, 1st two days at James and Sons’ premises in Fakenham, third day at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich).

THE GIGANTIC WHEEL, EARLS COURT

This structure, from the top of which Windsor Castle was visible on a good day, was open between 1895 and 1906 (hence the green coloured heading – it closed before the Piccadilly line opened,m meaning that the only public transport link would have been the District line). More about this wheel can be found here.

Lots 1286-90 inclusive and also lots 1294-5 in the auction are tokens/ medallions from this wheel’s period of operation…

If this gallery has tickled your fancy, a click on the image of lot 1286 reproduced below will take you to a full auctuion catalogue:

Lot 1286

THE LONDON EYE

The nearest experience to this you can enjoy in the capital today is on the London Eye, which is near Waterloo, and hence can be reached on the Northern, Bakerloo, Jubilee and Waterloo & City lines, as well as mainline, national and international railways and by boat.

For more on today’s version of a gigantic wheel visit the official website.

Mostly Tidy But Ends In Chaos

INTRODUCTION

The title for this post comes from a cryptic clue in Saturday’s Times Crossword (I was solving the ordinary clues but noticed this particular clue). I will give the full clue and its solution at the end of the post.

FROM PURPLE TO GREY VIA BROWN

The station that answers the clue was opened as a Metropolitan line station in 1880, then in 1939 the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line opened, and in 1940 Metropolitan line services were withdrawn from this station. In 1979  the Jubilee line was opened, comprising new track from Charing Cross to Baker Street and then taking over the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line. This station is connected to a large depot.

It serves a residential area which contains very little of note.

Here are some map pictures for you:

The modern connections of our station.
The modern connections of our station.
From the digrammatic history.
From the digrammatic history.
The first o two pictures from its days as a Metropolitan line station.
The first o two pictures from its days as a Metropolitan line station.

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THE FULL CLUE AND SOLUTION

The full clue read “An area of London, mostly tidy but ends in chaos”. The solution is a place that starts with the first three letters of the word ‘neat’ and finishes with the letters of ‘ends’ shuffled about – Neasden, home to to a major depot and nothing else of significance.

London Bridge

INTRODUCTION

This post features a hub station which is also close to numerous attractions.

THE HISTORY

Like all of London’s major railway stations this one has its origins in the mid 19th century. This map shows London Bridge and its connections in 1897…

This is an extract focussing on London Bridge.
This is an extract focussing on London Bridge.
This is the full map.
This is the full map.

In 1900 The City & South London Railway, the world’s first deep level ‘tube’ railway abandoned its badly sited King William Street terminus and opened three new stations at its northern end, London Bridge, Bank and Moorgate (for more about the subsequent history of this railway and what it became click here. In 1999, delayed and warped out of recognition by the greed and vanity of successive governments, the Jubilee line opened its long-awaited extension, one of the new stations on which was London Bridge. London Bridge was until recently part of the Thameslink route but is no longer so. These days there is an interchange available to Transport for London’s Riverboat Service as well. 

TWO ATTRACTIONS

There are two major attractions served by London Bridge. HMS Belfast is a historic warship, which for many years has been a floating museum (I visited several times as a child) and is now run under the aegis of the Imperial War Museum. The second attraction is the London Dungeon, which occupies what was once the notorious Clink Street Prison (from which the phrase ‘in the clink’ for ‘in prison’ comes) and styles itself London’s most frightening place.

RIVERSIDE WALKING

London Bridge is ideally placed as a starting and/or finishing point for walks along the Thames. Westward as far as Waterloo is all good walking, while eastward lie Maritime Greenwich and, for the seriously energetic, Woolwich. This, from 100 Walks in Greater London, is a recommneded walk featuring some of what I have just mentioned…

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Note that the Museum of the Moving Image has closed down since this book was produced.

AN AUCTION LOT

This, conveniently tallying with the theme of this post, is lot 604 in James and Sons‘ March Auction (two day sale, 30th and 31st March at Fakenham Racecourse – this item will be going under the hammer early in the second day)…

604

A FEW MAPS

I conclude this post with two map pictures, one from the Diagrammatic History and one from a modern London Connections Map…

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Jubilee Line Planned Works

Courtesy of the Jubilee Line twitter account:

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The Jubilee Line

INTRODUCTION

This post will look at the past, present and possible future of London Underground’s newest line.

A COMPLEX HISTORY

The original plan for a new line had it being called the Fleet Line, but then someone decided that instead it should be named in honour of the Queen’s silver jubilee, hence Jubilee line. The line that opened in 1979 was made up of two very different sections, a brand spanking new section from Charing Cross to Baker Street, and then starting with the platforms it uses at Baker Street, taking over the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line, which had itself come into being to ease congestion on the inner parts of the Metropolitan line. The terminus at Charing Cross was deliberately created with platforms facing southeast, with an extension into South East London and West Kent being envisaged…

THE BEST LAID PLANS OF MICE AND MEN…

Two things prevented that eminently sensible scheme from ever coming to fruition. First, a desire for an extension of the Jubilee line to have a station at Canary Wharf, connecting with the Docklands Light Railway, and second a desire for a London Underground station to serve the Millennium Dome (now the O2 Arena), a particularly wasteful vanity project that its current incarnation cannot expunge. These two factors led to a change of plan, to an extension from Green Park, curving round via Canary Wharf and the Millennium Dome to Stratford, and the closure of the old Charing Cross terminus.

THE FUTURE

Always in this series I have speculated based on the actual set up as I look at it, and I will still be doing this, but I will also provide my version, tying in with my other speculations, of what an extension from Charing Cross should have looked like but for the obsessions of first the Conservative government of my youth with the Canary Wharf project (which in a delicious irony bankrupted its developers) and then the Labour government with building a white elephant to celebrate the Millennium.

FROM STRATFORD

One possibility would be a connection to Central line tracks and running some services over these to Chelmsford. The other possibility is to go to Maryland, and run alongside main line tracks to Shenfield, thus increasing integration there. The fact is that this end of the Jubilee has been so badly mucked about that all possibilities are unsatsifying.

NORTH FROM STANMORE

A short extension northwards from Stanmore which includes a connection to the Orbital Railway scheme, a connection to my suggested northern extension of the Bakerloo and also to my plans for one part of the Northern line would complete as far as is possible the integration within the whole system of this line. My envisaged extension runs as follows: Caldecote, Aldenham, Garston, Leavesden, Abbots Langley, Bedmond and Hemel Hempstead.

WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN

The logical first port of call for an extension from the old Charing Cross terminus would have been Aldwych, and an interchange with the Piccadilly line. Having opted for the route to Maidstone for my Piccadilly line Aldwych plan, my suggestion for the rest of this extension would be: Waterloo, Elephant & Castle, Walworth, Old Kent Road, Queens Road Peckham, Brockley, Crofton park, Catford, Grove Park, Sundridge, Elmstead Woods, Bickley, Jubilee Country Park, Orpington, Goddington, Chelsfield Village, Well Hill, Shoreham, Kemsing and Sevenoaks.

THE PRESENT

Time now for a journey along the current Jubilee line, starting at…

STRATFORD

A vast network interchanges, including the Central line, London Overground, The Docklands Light Railway and local, national and international rail services. This part of London staged the 2012 Olympics, the stadium now being the home of West Ham United FC.

WEST HAM

Interchanges with the District and Hammersmith & City lines, London Overground, the Docklands Light Railway and mainline railways.

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CANNING TOWN

This station has an interchange with the Docklands Light Railway. This station has some interesting stuff on display related to the area’s history…

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NORTH GREENWICH

The station that was built to serve the Millennium Dome. You can catch a along the Thames from here if you wish. This is also one end of the most pointless gimmick in British public transport history, a cable car ride that goes to Royal Victoria on the Docklands Light Railway. At least if it went to Cutty Sark it would taking people somewhere worth visiting.

CANARY WHARF

Interchange with the Docklands Light Railway, and one half of the reason why the Jubilee line was not extended in a sensible direction.

CANADA WATER

When this station was created it served two London Underground lines, the Jubilee and the East London, but the latter is now part of London Overground.

BERMONDSEY

The first station we reach that offers no interchanges.

LONDON BRIDGE

A mainline railway station from which trains serve various destinations in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, also served by the Northern line. Some mainline trains go north from here to Cannon Street and some go north-east to Waterloo East and Charing Cross. This used to be a Thameslink station buut is no longer so. Among other things, this station serves HMS Belfast, a floating museum on the Thames and the London Dungeon.

SOUTHWARK

Right on the south bank of the Thames, this station has an interchange to Waterloo East. If coming from the East you might choose to alight here and walk along the river bank to reach the South Bank Centre.

WATERLOO

This station has been covered in vast detail in my post on the Bakerloo line, to which I commend your attention.

WESTMINSTER

For more on this station please visit my post on the District line.

GREEN PARK

Interchanges with the Victoria and Piccadilly lines, albeit over substantial distances. The station is  notable for leaf patterned tiling on the walls.

BOND STREET

A station that has no surface building, as the area above it is occupied by the West 1 shopping centre. Bond Street will be one of the central London stops in Crossrail (the eastern end of the network is already operating as TFL Rail, from Liverpool Street to Shenfield).

BAKER STREET

This is where the older section of the Jubilee, which was taken over from the Bakerloo, begins. More about this station can be found in these posts:

The Hammersmith and City Line

The Great Anomaly

Plans for Edgware Road-Wimbledon/ Kensington Olympia

The Bakerloo line

While we also have a post covering Baker Street’s most famous ever resident.

ST JOHNS WOOD

This is the station for Lord’s Cricket Ground. Thomas Lord of Thirsk was the first Yorkshireman to have a significant impact on cricket history, and the current ground, which dates from 1814 was the third he created for the Marylebone Cricket Club. Although Lord’s is popularly referred to as the home of cricket, the first two test matches on English soil were staged at the Oval. It was in 1884 that Lord’s first staged a test-match. Two years later Arthur Shrewsbury dominated the second ever test match at Lord’s, relieving W G Grace of this then record score for England with 164 (Grace reclaimed his record in the very next match at the Oval). In 1990 Lords saw a truly astonishing game, in which Graham Gooch scored 333 in the first innings and 123 in the second for England, India avoided the follow-on due to Kapil Dev hitting four successive sixes with one of the most genuine of genuine number 11s at the other end, and England still had enough time to complete the victory.

SWISS COTTAGE

The last station before the line rises to the surface.

FINCHLEY ROAD

Just before arriving at this station which has a cross-platform interchange with the Metropolitan line the Jubilee rises to the surface, emerging from the tunnel that was built in 1939 to accomodate what was then the Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line. The undeground section of this route from Baker Street to here enabled the Metropolitan to stop serving the intermediate stations, and now, while Jubilee line trains stop everywhere, the next Metropolitan line stop is Wembley Park, while uniquely among current London Undeground lines the Metropolitan runs some fast services, whose next stop after Finchley Road is Harrow-on-the-Hill.

WEST HAMPSTEAD

Interchanges with London Overground and Thameslink. This section of line provides the reverse of the experience of travelling between Hammersmith and Acton Town – there it is subsurface trains stopping everywhere and tube trains running fast, while here it is the Metropolitan line trains that run fast while the Jubilee line trains stop.

KILBURN

Officially not an interchange but this station is very close to Brondesbury, Brondesbury Park, Kilburn Park and within comfortable walking distance of Kilburn Park should you wish to to use the services available from these stations.

WILLESDEN GREEN

In spite of their names, this station is not massively close to Willesden Junction, although one could quite comfortably walk between the two if one wished. Willesden Green is unusual in that is simultaneously in fare zones 2 and 3. Works are planned for this area – see here.

DOLLIS HILL

The fourth of five intermediate stations at which Metropolitan line trains do not call although they go past it.

NEASDEN

Nowadays a very minor station, but still the site of a very major depot (second only to Ruislip on the entire system).

WEMBLEY PARK

The station for Wembley Stadium. This where the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines diverge, the Metropolitan heading on to its own bifurcation point at Harrow-on-the-Hill, while the Jubilee heads north to…

KINGSBURY

For the first time since Swiss Cottage a station at which only Jubilee line trains are seen.

QUEENSBURY

There are many places that owe their eminence, and some cases their very existence to the development of railways of various kinds, but Queensbury takes this a stage further – it owes its name to the development of the railway. Said name was of course unimaginatively conceived as a partner for neighbouring Kingsbury.

CANONS PARK

The second to last station on our journey, and decidedly rural in appearance.

STANMORE

The end of the line. This station is accompanied by a huge number of sidings. This is a proper ‘interchange’ station, with bays for buses outside the front of the building. If you are up for a longish walk, Edgware is a couple of miles distant enabling a return along one branch of the Northern line.

MAPS

I conclude this post with some map pictures that should help to tell the story of the Jubilee line…

The Jubilee line and its current connections.
The Jubilee line and its current connections.
A geographical look at the territory covered by the Jubilee line (when this map was mad, the Stratford extension was under construction).
A geographical look at the territory covered by the Jubilee line (when this map was mad, the Stratford extension was under construction).

The remaining pictures all come from the Diagrammatic History and aim to make the history od the line clear…

The Baker Street element - note that although not used for passenger services the Bakerloo line still has a track link to the Jubilee, sometimes used for rolling stock transfer.
The Baker Street element – note that although not used for passenger services the Bakerloo line still has a track link to the Jubilee, sometimes used for rolling stock transfer.
The Wembley Park scenario.
The Wembley Park scenario.
The explanation for this part of the Jubilee line.
The explanation for this part of the Jubilee line.