Kenton and Northwick Park

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this post about two unremarkable stations.  This post came about because on Wednesday evening I was looking through a Railway Atlas that I had acquired at the auction that my employers were running (for more on this click here) and saw a picture that gave me an idea.

THE HISTORY

Kenton, nowadays the one stop south of the northern terminus of the Bakerloo line, was first served by that line in 1917, five years after it opened (although the line on which it sits had been in operation since the 1830s), services that far north being suspended in 1982 before being reintroduced in 1984. Northwick Park, on the Metropolitan, though being on a stretch of track built in 1885 did not open for business until 1923, when it was originally called Northwick Park & Kenton before losing the suffix, which is a good place to share some maps as a lead in to the next section…

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TIME TO ACKNOWLEDGE
AN INTERCHANGE?

The picture that gave me the clue that led to this post was this one…

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Noting that although showing no features these maps seemed to be paying at least lip-service to geography (as Mr Beck’s creation and the zillions of imitations it spawned do not) I decided this warranted investigation to see whether these two stations really were close enough together to be considered an effective interchange. Google Maps today yielded the following…

Kenton - Northwick Park

Given Google Maps’ habitual over-estimation of walking times I would say that this constitutes prima facie evidence that indeed Kenton-Northwick Park and vice versa does deserve to be considered a genuine interchange. I have put Kenton first in this suggestion because I could see a situation where if you lived significantly north of Baker Street on the Bakerloo and needed to travel somewhere on the outer reaches of the Metropolitan a short walk from Kenton to Northwick Park would save time on travelling away from destination and then back towards it (even allowing for the possibility of a second change at Harrow-on-the-Hill, since Amersham services do not stop at Northwick Park).

SIGNIFICANT PLACES IN THE AREA

There are just two places worthy of individual mention in this area, and I append links to their respective websites below:

Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square (Book Review)

INTRODUCTION

Yes – another book that relates to the history (or in this case prehistory) of London Underground.

A RATTLING GOOD READ

Most of the action takes place in the years 1859-62, during which construction work is taking place on the Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground railway, and Mr Joseph William Bazalgette’s greatest work, a complete overhaul of London’s sewer system is just starting (it will take until 1870 to complete).

The action starts with the destruction of a colossal clock that was to have been part of the new London and North Western Railway, and ends with a journey along the newly opened Metropolitan.

The title character’s researches take him to the reading room at the British Library, bringing the Marx family in to the story, albeit in a walk-on role.

I personally found the characterisation of the Euston Bugle and its chief reporter highly amusing – and unmistakably accurate. At the start of the story, when the Great Western Railway who are their main shareholders are not due to have a stake in the new underground railway they are vehemently opposed to it, but then when an agreement is brokered that gives the GWR running powers over the tracks in exchange for supplying locomotives (and the Met was built to take broad as well as standard gauge locomotives, and its first locomotives were indeed supplied by the GWR), they become the world’s no 1 supporters of the new underground railway.

All in all, William Sutton’s book is a great success, and I once again thank Norfolk Libraries for enabling to me to access this and many other fine books.

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For those who prefer buying to borrowing, the book can be obtained from book depository with free worldwide delivery for £7.99