|Ridership||66.8 million (2011/12) passenger journeys|
|Colour on map||Magenta|
|Opening||10 January 1863|
|Rolling stock||S Stock 8 carriages per trainset|
|Line length||66.7 km (41.4 mi)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
The Metropolitan line is a London Underground service that connects Aldgate in the City of London, the capital's financial heart, with Amersham and Chesham in Buckinghamshire, with branches to Watford and Uxbridge. Coloured magenta on the tube map, the line serves 34 stations in 41.4 miles (66.7 km), and is the oldest rapid transit line in the world. The section between Aldgate and Baker Street is shared with the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines, between Rayners Lane and Uxbridge with the Piccadilly line, and between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Amersham with Chiltern Railways. Just under 67 million passenger journeys were made on the line in 2011/12.
In 1863 the Metropolitan Railway began the world's first underground railway between Paddington and Farringdon Street with wooden carriages and steam locomotives, but its most important route became the line north into the Middlesex countryside, where it stimulated the development of new suburbs. Harrow was reached in 1880, and the line extended as far as Verney Junction in Buckinghamshire, more than 50 miles (80 km) from Baker Street. From the end of the 19th century, the railway shared tracks with the Great Central Railway route out of Marylebone. The central London lines were electrified by 1907, but electric locomotives were exchanged for steam locomotives on trains heading north of Harrow. After the railway was absorbed by the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933 the line was cut back to Aylesbury. Steam trains ran until 1961, when the line was electrified to and services curtailed at Amersham. The Hammersmith & City line was shown on the tube map as part of the Metropolitan line until 1990, when it appeared as a separate line. The current S Stock trains entered service between 2010 and 2012.
The track is underground between Aldgate and Finchley Road; unlike the tube railways, the tunnels are just below the surface (cut and cover) and of similar size to those for mainline trains. Of the 34 stations served, nine are below ground. Baker Street is the central London terminus for some trains, others continuing to Aldgate in the City. Most of the route is two tracks, except for the single-track Chesham branch and a four-track section between Wembley Park and Moor Park that allows fast services to overtake slower trains. There are also four tracks between Wembley Park and Finchley Road, but the inner pair of tracks was transferred to the Bakerloo line in 1939, then to the Jubilee line in 1979, the trains on these lines calling at all stations. The Metropolitan line runs on the outer fast lines.
The Watford branch is due to be diverted to Watford Junction, resulting in the closure of Watford station and opening of two new stations. Construction is due to begin in 2014 and be completed by 2016.
- 1 History
- 2 Route
- 3 Services
- 4 Rolling stock
- 5 Depot
- 6 Steam on the Met
- 7 Upgrade and extension
- 8 List of stations
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
The Metropolitan Railway (also known as the Met) was a passenger and goods railway that served London from 1863 to 1933, its main line heading north-west from the City to what were to become the Middlesex suburbs. Its first line connected the mainline railway termini at Paddington, Euston and King's Cross to the City, built beneath the New Road using the cut-and-cover method between Paddington and King's Cross, and in tunnel and cuttings beside Farringdon Road from King's Cross to near Smithfield. It opened on 10 January 1863 with gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives, the world's first underground railway. In 1871, when plans were presented for an underground railway in Paris, it was called the Métropolitain in imitation. The modern word metro is a short form of the French word.
The railway was soon extended from both ends and northwards via a branch from Baker Street. It reached Hammersmith in 1864 and Richmond in 1877, and completed the Inner Circle in 1884, but the most important route became the line north into the Middlesex countryside, where it stimulated the development of new suburbs. Harrow was reached in 1880, and the line extended as far as Verney Junction in Buckinghamshire, more than 50 miles (80 kilometres) from Baker Street. From the end of the 19th century, the railway shared tracks with the Great Central Railway route out of Marylebone.
Electric traction was introduced in 1905 with electric multiple units operating between Uxbridge, Harrow-on-the-Hill and Baker Street. To remove steam and smoke from the tunnels in central London, the railway purchased electric locomotives, exchanged for steam locomotives at Harrow from 1908. Unlike other railways in the London area, the Met developed land for housing and after World War I promoted housing estates near the railway with the "Metro-land" brand. To improve services, more powerful electric and steam locomotives were purchased in the 1920s. A short branch opened from Rickmansworth to Watford in 1925. After World War I, the 4-mile (6.4 km) Stanmore branch was built from Wembley Park.
On 1 July 1933 the Metropolitan was amalgamated with other Underground railways, tramway companies and bus operators to form the London Passenger Transport Board, and a period of rationalisation followed. Responsibility for goods services passed to the London and North Eastern Railway, and the services north-west of Aylesbury were withdrawn in 1936, though services returned to Quainton Road between 1943 and 1948. In 1936 the line was extended from Whitechapel to Barking along the tracks of the District line. In 1939 the Stanmore branch was transferred to the Bakerloo line, and subsequently to the Jubilee line when that line opened in 1979. London Transport inherited a number of incompatible electric multiple units from the railway, including the 1927–33 multiple-unit compartment stock used on routes to Watford and Rickmansworth, and these were refurbished to form a uniform fleet and designated London Underground T Stock. In the 1950s, F Stock trains, with sliding doors under the control of the guard, were transferred to the line from the District line; these mainly worked the semi-fast Harrow and Uxbridge services.
Steam-hauled passenger trains ran north of Rickmansworth until 1961, when the line as far as Amersham was electrified and aluminium A stock, originally unpainted, replaced the T stock and locomotive-hauled trains, and the London Transport service north of Amersham withdrawn. More A Stock trains were built in 1962–63 to replace the trains on the Uxbridge service. A Stock was 4-car units that could operate as four- or eight-car trains; normally operated as eight cars, a 4-car unit operated the Chesham shuttle. Because of the growth of suburban traffic, the line north of Harrow-on-the-Hill was quadrupled to north of Moor Park by 1962. One person operation of the trains was proposed in 1972, but due to conflict with the trades unions was not introduced on the line until 1986.
A separate identity
Although the East London line had been an isolated shuttle since 1939, it was shown on London Underground maps as part of the Metropolitan line until 1968. In 1970 it was shown with a thin white line in the middle and labelled the "East London section". By the 1985 map it had become the "East London Line", remaining the same colour as the Metropolitan line with a white line in the middle, changed to orange by the 1990 map. In 1990 the Hammersmith & City line became a separate line from Hammersmith to Whitechapel (Barking during the peak), the Metropolitan line being from Aldgate to Baker Street and northwards to Amersham with branches to Uxbridge and Watford.
In 2003, the infrastructure was partly privatised in a public–private partnership managed by the Metronet consortium. Metronet went into administration in 2007 and Transport for London took over responsibilities.
On 12 December 2010 the service to Amersham was reduced from four trains per hour to two, and a direct service between Chesham and central London was introduced, replacing the 4-car Chesham to Chalfont & Latimer shuttle. The final passenger services operated by the A Stock ran on 26 September 2012. followed by a ticketed public railtour on 29 September.
The Metropolitan line is 42 miles (67 km) long and serves 34 stations. It is electrified with a four-rail DC system: a central conductor rail is energised at –210 V and a rail outside the running rail at +420 V, giving a potential difference of 630 V. The first 6 miles (9.7 km) from Aldgate are below ground, shared with the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines to Baker Street, where the line diverges, remaining in tunnel until Finchley Road. Between Finchley Road and Wembley Park the line runs parallel to the Jubilee line, the tracks being paired by direction, with cross-platform interchange at the two stations. At Wembley Park the Jubilee line diverges to the Stanmore branch at a grade-separated junction. From just after Finchley Road these four tracks run parallel with the Network Rail Chiltern Main Line from Marylebone.
Between Wembley Park and Harrow-on-the-Hill the Metropolitan is four-track, with fast and slow lines paired by direction, paralleling the two-track un-electrified Chiltern Main Line. The slow lines are between the fast lines, and the two intermediate stations have island platforms. Harrow-on-the-Hill has platforms on all six lines. The central slow lines diverge here at a grade-separated junction to become the 7.5 miles (12.1 km) Uxbridge branch. After West Harrow, at Rayners Lane the line is joined by the Piccadilly line, which shares the tracks to Uxbridge; a turnback siding allows some Piccadilly line services to terminate at Rayners Lane.
On the main line between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Moor Park tube station, the line is four-track, paired by use. The western fast tracks are shared with Chiltern line services from Marylebone; the eastern slow tracks have platforms at the intermediate stations. There is access at Watford triangle to the Watford branch. This double-track branch has stations at Croxley and Watford, but in 2018 the Croxley Rail Link is scheduled to open, involving the closure of Watford station and diversion of the line to Watford Junction via Watford High Street. From the Watford triangle to Amersham the line has two tracks. At Chalfont & Latimer the 3.89 miles (6.26 km) single-track Chesham branch diverges, running parallel to the main line for a distance. The Metropolitan line ends at Amersham, where there are turnback sidings just beyond the platforms. The route continues to Aylesbury with Chiltern Railways trains only.
The fast lines north of Harrow and all lines north of Rickmansworth are signalled with LUL signalling, but using four-aspect Network Rail signal heads. The upper two lights are a two-aspect stop signal displaying either a green or red aspect, the lower two lights a repeater signal for the next stop signal ahead showing a green or yellow aspect, or no aspect when the stop signal shows a red aspect. Thus they are effectively four-light three-aspect signals with green/red/green/yellow lights from the top, danger being a single red light, caution the top green light over a yellow light, and clear two green lights.
The off-peak service as of December 2013[update] in trains per hour, stopping at all stations, is:
- 2 between Amersham and Aldgate
- 2 between Chesham and Aldgate
- 4 between Watford and Baker Street
- 8 between Uxbridge and Baker Street, of which 4 continue to Aldgate.
There are additional trains during the peak hours: some peak Amersham and Chesham trains run non-stop between Moor Park and Harrow-on-the-Hill and/or Harrow-on-the-Hill and Finchley Road. Chiltern Railways runs two trains per hour from Amersham to Marylebone.
Since 26 September 2012 all services have been provided by eight-car S Stock trains introduced in July 2010 to replace the A Stock. Part of Bombardier's Movia family, they have air-conditioning, feasible because the sub-surface tunnels, unlike tube tunnels, are able to disperse the exhausted hot air. They have regenerative brakes, returning around 20% of their energy to the network and thus reducing energy consumption.
With a top speed of 62 miles per hour (100 km/h), they have fewer seats — 306 compared with 448 in the A Stock — but accommodate 697 standing passengers compared with 597 in A Stock[note 1] and have dedicated space for wheelchairs. It is planned to increase the traction voltage from the present nominal 630 V to 750 V to give better performance and allow the trains to return more energy to the network through their regenerative brakes.
The line is served by a depot at Neasden.[note 2] The Metropolitan Railway opened a carriage works at Neasden in 1882 and the following year the locomotive works were moved from Edgware Road. In 1904–05 the depot was refitted to take the new electric multiple units and accommodation enlarged in 1932–3. After the amalgamation into the LTPB, the depot was rebuilt from 1936 to 1939. The depot was upgraded in 2010–11 to make it suitable for maintenance of S Stock trains. Trains are also stabled overnight at Uxbridge, Watford, Rickmansworth and Wembley Park.
Steam on the Met
In 1989, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Metropolitan to Chesham, the first Steam on the Met event took place with London Underground running two weekends of steam specials between Chesham and Watford. The event was a success and so in 1990 London Underground ran steam between Harrow and Amersham. In 1992, to celebrate 100 years of the Met at Amersham, the event was extended to five days at the end of May. From 1994, diesel locomotive 20227, owned by the Class 20 Locomotive Society, and electric locomotive Sarah Siddons provided air braking for the coaches. In 1995 trains ran between Amersham and Watford.
Engines used included BR standard class 5 and BR standard class 4 and GWR Pannier tanks. There was other rolling stock on static display at Rickmansworth sidings. The steam trains ran between normal Metropolitan and main line services. Due to the imminent partial privatisation of LUL and the stock condition, the last steam excursion took place in 2000. In 2008, special trains ran on using Metropolitan Railway electric locomotive "Sarah Siddons" and diesel Class 20 locomotives.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Metropolitan, special services ran in January 2013 using a restored 1892 "Jubilee" carriage, 1898–1900 Ashbury and Cravens bogie carriages, Metropolitan Railway milk van No.3, Metropolitan Railway E Class steam locomotive No. 1 and electric locomotive "Sarah Siddons". Further events are planned in 2013 for Locomotive No. 1, "Sarah Siddons" and the Jubilee carriage, including a Steam back on the Met scheduled for May.
Upgrade and extension
Sub-surface railway upgrade
With the introduction of S Stock, the track, electrical supply and signalling systems are being upgraded in a programme planned to increase peak-hour capacity on the line by 27 per cent by the end of 2018. A single control room for the sub-surface railway is to be established in Hammersmith, and an automatic train control (ATC) system will replace signalling equipment installed from the 1940s. Trackside signals with Automatic Train Protection (ATP) will remain on the line north of Harrow-on-the-Hill, shared with Chiltern Railways DMUs. It was planned that the new signalling system would be used first on the line north of Baker Street from the end of 2016, but the signalling contractor Bombardier was released by agreement in December 2013 and London Underground are looking for a replacement.
Croxley Rail Link
The Watford Branch is planned to be rerouted from the current terminus over the disused Croxley Green branch line to Watford Junction. Funding was agreed in December 2011, and the necessary permission was granted by the Government in July 2013. Construction work is expected to start in June 2014 and end by January 2016.
List of stations
In order from east to west
|Aldgate||18 November 1876||Circle||Terminus|
|Liverpool Street||12 July 1875||Circle||Originally Bishopsgate, renamed 1 November 1909|
|Moorgate||23 December 1865||Circle||Originally Moorgate Street, renamed 24 October 1924|
|Barbican||23 December 1865||Circle||Originally Aldersgate Street, renamed Aldersgate 1910, Aldersgate and Barbican 1923, Barbican 1968|
|Farringdon||10 January 1863||Circle||Resited 22 December 1865. Originally Farringdon Street, renamed Farringdon & High Holborn 1922, Farringon 1936|
|King's Cross St Pancras||10 January 1863||Circle||Station resited 1941. Originally King's Cross, renamed King's Cross & St Pancras 1925, King's Cross St Pancras 1933.|
|Euston Square||10 January 1863||Circle||Originally Gower Street, renamed 1909|
|Great Portland Street||10 January 1863||Circle||Originally Portland Road, renamed Great Portland Street 1917, Great Portland Street & Regent's Park 1923, Great Portland Street 1933|
|Baker Street||10 January 1863||Main
|Metropolitan line platforms date from 1868|
|Finchley Road||30 June 1879||Main
|Finchley Road (South Hampstead) from 1885 to 1914|
|Wembley Park||12 May 1894||Main
|Preston Road||21 May 1908||Main
|Northwick Park||28 June 1923||Main
|Originally Northwick Park & Kenton, renamed 1937|
|Harrow-on-the-Hill||2 August 1880||Main
|Originally Harrow, renamed 1894|
|West Harrow||17 November 1913||Uxbridge|
|Rayners Lane||26 May 1906||Uxbridge|
|Eastcote||26 May 1906||Uxbridge|
|Ruislip Manor||5 August 1912||Uxbridge|
|Ruislip||4 July 1904||Uxbridge|
|Ickenham||25 September 1905||Uxbridge|
|Hillingdon||10 December 1923||Uxbridge||Renamed Hillingdon (Swakeleys) 1934, suffix gradually dropped. Resited 1992|
|Uxbridge||4 July 1904||Uxbridge||Station resited in 1938
|North Harrow||22 March 1915||Main
|Pinner||25 May 1885||Main
|Northwood Hills||13 November 1933||Main
|Northwood||1 September 1887||Main
|The last station within Greater London|
|Moor Park||9 May 1910||Main
|Originally Sandy Lodge, renamed Moor Park & Sandy Lodge 18 October 1923, Moor Park 25 September 1950|
|Croxley||2 November 1925||Watford||Originally Croxley Green, renamed 23 May 1949|
|Watford||4 November 1925||Watford||Terminus|
|Rickmansworth||1 September 1887||Main
|Chorleywood||8 July 1889||Main
|Originally Chorley Wood, renamed Chorley Wood & Chenies 1 November 1915, Chorley Wood 1934, Chorleywood 1964|
|Chalfont & Latimer||8 July 1889||Main
|Originally Chalfont Road, renamed 1 November 1915|
|Chesham||8 July 1889||Chesham||Terminus|
|Amersham||1 September 1892||Main
|Renamed Amersham & Chesham Bois 12 March 1922, Amersham 1937
The Brill Tramway with stations Waddesdon Road, Westcott, Wotton, Church Siding, Wood Siding and Brill closed in 1935. In the following year the line was cut back to Aylesbury, with Waddesdon station and Granborough Road, Winslow Road stations on the line to Verney Junction closing. Initially Verney Junction and Quainton Road remained open, with main line services provided by the LNER.
In 1939 the Stanmore branch and the stopping service between Finchley Road and Wembley Park were transferred to the Bakerloo line. On the St John's Wood section, Lord's and Marlborough Road stations were replaced by St John's Wood tube station, and Swiss Cottage tube station replaced the Metropolitan line station. The Bakerloo line service to Stanmore was transferred to the Jubilee line when that line opened in 1979.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Metropolitan Line.|
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