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). 

The Buckinghamshire Railway Centre

INTRODUCTION

This post came about because I was given a horse brass that relates to this establishment. I will explain in the course of the post my justification for including it on a site devoted to London Underground. 

THE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE RAILWAY CENTRE

It was only natural that I should check further for details of the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. I discovered that it is based in Aylesbury and that it looks like an excellent museum. Click on the picture below to visit their website:

JUSTIFYING THIS INCLUSION

So what is this attraction doing on this site? There are two linked justifications for its inclusion. In my post about the Metropolitan line I have referred to the fact that that line once extended a lot further than it now does. Even after the sections beyond Aylesbury were closed, Metropolitan line trains continued to serve Aylesbury until the 1960s. In my post about the Central line I went in to detail about my vision of a London Orbital Railway. 

 

The Metropolitan line in its glory days.

 

In my vision the Metropolitan line would be pared back to the Uxbridge branch and the Chesham branch, the latter extended to Tring, with the Watford branch being wholly incorporated into the Orbital Railway, and the Amersham branch forming the start of a northwestern spur from the Orbital Railway which would extend to the old terminus at Brill, and thence to Oxford to link up with mainline railways there. There would possibly also be scope for reviving the old Verney Junction branch and extending to Milton Keynes, although with the Watford link this is very much an additional option rather than a central part of the vision.

As part of the Oxford spur there could be a station specifically for the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, with tickets to that station including admission to the railway centre – after all how better to arrive at a railway centre than by train arriving at a station that is structurally part of the centre? 

Here is a second picture of that horse brass:

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.

 

 

The Archaeology of the Elizabeth Line (nee Crossrail) – Video

INTRODUCTION

The good folk at the Museum of London, easily walkable from St Pauls (Central line) and Moorgate (Northern, Circle, Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan and mainline railways) are running an exhibition on the the archaeology of the Elizabeth line, which is built on an East-West axis through London and because of its depth also cuts vertically through millennia of fascinating history. As an introduction to this new exhibition they have produced a spectacular…

VIDEO

 

A FINAL LINK

For more about this fascinating new exhibition and about tunnel archaeology please visit the appropriate page on the Museum of London’s website by clicking here.

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.

Amazing & Extraordinary London Underground Facts – Book Review

INTRODUCTION

I spotted this book in King’s Lynn library and of course had to take it out. Here is the front cover:

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OVERALL IMPRESSION

The book is crammed with interesting information,  and covers every line in detail as well as going over the history and some of pre-history of London Underground. I am very glad that I did borrow it, and have enjoyed dipping into it on a regular basis while it is in my possession. However, I have some…

QUIBBLES

I am going to start with the coverage of the East London line (which was still part of London Underground when the book was published although it is not now). In covering this line Mr Halliday states tat the Brunel tunnel under the Thames is the oldest object on the system having opened as a pedestrian tunnel in 1843. I have no quibble with his dating of the tunnel, but the stations that now form the northern end of the High Barnet branch of the Northern line opened as main-line railway in 1842, one year earlier than the pedestrian tunnel.

When covering the Central line Mr Halliday fails to mention that original eastern extension of that line beyond Liverpool Street did not end as it does today at Epping, but continued to Ongar (this is another former main line railway incorporated into London Underground, and opened in that guise in 1856). This leads me to another minor area of disappointment:

OVER-ORTHODOXY

In talking about the early history of the Metropolitan Mr Halliday mentions the Brill branch and the envisaged extension of this branch to Oxford but does not seem to consider that by opening up connections at both ends this could actually have boosted the use of the line. Similarly, when mentioning the former Aldwych branch of the Piccadilly line he does not consider the possible use of this under-used branch as a starting point for an extension into southeast London and west Kent. As mentioned above I regard the failure to even mention the stations beyind Epping on the Central line as inexcusable, and this too could be a discussion point – in my own post on the Central line I have advocated an extension to Chelmsford and another connection to mainline railways. Nevertheless, for all these issues I conclude this post (apart from some more pictures) by restating that this is a very useful and interesting little book.

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Works at Barbican Station

INTRODUCTION

This comes from the Circle line’s official twitter feed (it will also be on the Hammersmith and City and Metropolitan line’s feeds as they serve this station as well).

WORKS AT BARBICAN

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The Institute of Education

INTRODUCTION

This post features a London landmark which is particularly well served by public transport. There will be links to several other posts in appropriate places, and I have a couple of satellite maps to share as well.

ABOUT THE INSTITUTE

Although it was independent for a long time, the Institute of Education is now part of University College London’s (UCL) seemingly ever expanding empire (UCL owned/ run buildings nowadays occupy a significant proportion of Bloomsbury). More information about what is generally available at this particular site can be found here. Although I visited the institute a few times in connection with an autism research project for which I was a subject my main involvement with the place has been by way of the Marxism Festival which has made use of this building for all save a few of the years since I first attended it (in 1995, when I was on the team). Back then we used only three venues in the building for meetings, the Logan, Jeffery and Elvin halls. This year, when the institute was one of only two buildings used for the festival (the other bieng the Royal National Hotel, across Bedford Way) these venues were augmented as meeting rooms by Clarke Hall, Nunn Hall, and various rooms on the upper floors (including one set aside as a designated quiet space). For more about the most recent incarnation of this festival click here.

THE TRANSPORT CONNECTIONS

While the closest station by some margin is Russell Square on the Piccadilly line, Euston and Euston Square are both also within ten minutes walk (Northern, Victoria, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, London Overground and National Rail between them), with Warren Street (Northern and Victoria) and Goodge Street (Northern) also near at hand, and King’s Cross comfortably walkable (as I can confirm from experience). In addition to the above, Euston station has out front what is effectively a bus station, and buses travel from there to most parts of London.

TWO SATELLITE VIEWS

To end this post here are two satellite views obatined by use of google maps, first one showing the transport connections in the close vicinity of the building:

IOE and local stations.

And a closer view shwoing the building in more detail:

IOE Close Up

The institute numbers its floors (or levels as they call them), starting at 1 and ascending. Bedford Way adjoins level three, while the courtyard on the other side gives access to level four.

Route Maps and Rolling Stock

INTRODUCTION

I was in London last Saturday for a conference at the National Autistic Society’s HQ and made use of London Underground after the conference, travelling on Northern and Metropolitan line trains. The rest of this post will largely be pictures showing this.

THE NORTHERN LINE

Catching a Northern line train at Angel means using the longest escalator in London (bear in mind that when I took the photo below I was already a few steps down):

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Aboard the train at Angel I took this picture of the on-train route map of the Northern line

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Changing trains at Moorgate I got this enamel map of the relevant parts of the Northern Line…

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THE METROPOLITAN

At Moorgate (and elsewhere between Liverpool Street and Great Portland Street) the Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith and City lines share a set of tracks, hence this enamelled route map:

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The Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City lines all now have new rolling stock which is articulated rather than comprising old style carriages. The difference between the two types of stock is that the stock used on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines has a lot of doors and comparatively little seating space owing to the fact that it is mainly used for short journeys within central London, while the Metropolitan line stock, to be suitable for longer journeys over less densely used track has much more seating and fewer doors.

Looking along a new Metropolitan line train.
Looking along a new Metropolitan line train.

Here is the internal route map from this same train:

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