User:Hammersfan/Railway Adjustment and Intervention Bureau/London Metropolitan

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London Metropolitan
London Metropolitan roundel.PNG
A London Metropolitan train at Croxley
Owner Rail for London Ltd; part of Transport for London (TfL)
Locale Greater London; Three Rivers; Watford; St Albans, UK
Transit type Commuter rail
Underground rail
Light rail
Number of lines 5
Number of stations 45
Began operation 2013
Operator(s) Operated by Metrorail under contract to TfL, 2013-2026
Reporting marks LME (National Rail)
System length 82.67 km (51.36 Miles)
Track gauge Standard

London Metropolitan (LME) is a rail network in London, that operates partly as an underground line and partly as a suburban commuter operation. It has been operated by Metrorail, a subsidiary of SNCF, since 2016, as part of the National Rail network, with the franchise directly under the control of Transport for London (TfL). The network runs out towards the north-west of London, and consists of a main line that separates into four individual branches; there is a further short line that runs separately from the main line.


The history of the London Metropolitan network goes back to the foundation of the Metropolitan Railway, the first underground railway in the world, in 1863. However, although it was operated for decades as the Metropolitan line, part of London Underground, it was more akin to a traditional suburban railway, being the only line running fast and semi-fast services and a more traditional timetable. In 2010, the Metropolitan line began taking delivery of a new fleet of trains, the S Stock, which would be introduced on all of the sub-surface lines and, at 1,395 vehicles and £1.5bn, was the largest rolling stock order ever made in Britain. As a consequence of this cost, a proposal was made to try and offset a proportion of this cost by separating the Metropolitan line and incorporating it as a separate operation, similar to London Overground. This would see the ownership retained by Transport for London, but the operation franchised out to another operator.


London Metropolitan was officially launched following the end of the 2012 Summer Paralympics with the announcement that Metrorail had been awarded the concession to run the service. This saw the unveiling of the company branding, which continued the use of TfL's traditional roundel, with the circle coloured purple. The service itself was launched on the 1st January 2013 with the final withdrawal of the old A Stock trains and the full introduction of the S Stock.


Croxley Rail Link[edit]

Initially, the network operated over the old Metropolitan line, with its eastern terminus at Aldgate and western termini at Uxbridge, Amersham, Chesham and Watford. However, the government's Regional Growth Fund provided money in 2011 for the construction of the Croxley Rail Link, a scheme that was intended to restore the Croxley Green Branch, a former National Rail line to Watford Junction. This allowed London Metropolitan services into the centre of Watford and interchange with London Overground and services on the West Coast Main Line. As an addition to the Croxley link, a further rail link was added to the project that allowed direct trains between Amersham and Watford Junction, which could also potentially lead to a service between Watford and Aylesbury. However, any Aylesbury service would require diesel multiple unit trains as the route beyond Amersham is unelectrified.

Abbey Line[edit]

In addition to the Croxley Rail Link, London Metropolitan took on the preparation and operation of the Abbey Line, a short line running between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey. In 2009, it was announced that this line would be converted to light rail operation under the control of Hertfordshire County Council. In 2013, the council came to an agreement with TfL that the Abbey Line would be incorporated into London Metropolitan's operations once conversion was complete. Conversion work was complete alongside the Croxley link in 2015, with services starting in 2016.

Current System[edit]


With the introduction of services on the Croxley and Abbey lines, the network has settled into a pattern that sees the use of all three central London termini; Aldgate, Moorgate and Baker Street.

  • Uxbridge - Aldgate
  • Amersham/Chesham - Moorgate
  • Watford Junction - Baker Street

Additionally, one train per hour from Watford Junction runs to Amersham. The Abbey Line operates exclusively between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey.

London Metropolitan interchanges with several London Underground lines. Most notably, the Jubilee line runs alongside between Finchley Road and Wembley Park, although the interchanges are only at those two stations, with London Metropolitan non-stop. London Metropolitan also interchanges with the Bakerloo, Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines. It also interchanges with a number of other National Rail operators to different mainline termini in London.


Main Line Uxbridge Branch Watford Branch Chesham/Amersham Branch Abbey Line

Current Operations[edit]

Northwood Hills station


London Metropolitan remains part of TfL's operation, and consequently within TfL's ticketing structure. However, the incorporation of the Abbey Line within the operation has led to an extension of the zonal fares system - prior to the start of London Metropolitan as a separate operation, Watford Junction, which was then just the terminus of London Overground's service from Euston, was outside of Zone 9 in its own individual station zone, Zone W, for fare purposes. However, the incorporation of the Abbey Line led to the need for discussion between TfL and Hertfordshire County Council over the fare structure that would be introduced. Eventually, agreement was reached that Zone W would be extended to cover the Abbey Line route, and be renamed as Zone 10, with a view to it possibly forming a full concentric zone.

As the majority of stations served by London Metropolitan were already operated by TfL as part of London Underground, very little work had to be undertaken in order to make them compatible with TfL's ticketing system. The only significant work came at the Abbey Line stations, which had card readers and ticket machines installed on the platforms (all bar Watford Junction having no ticket office).


In keeping with the rest of TfL's operations, London Metropolitan continues to use a version of the iconic roundel associated with most public transport in London. This uses a magenta coloured ring and blue bard, magenta being the colour scheme associated with the Metropolitan line. On the tube map, as with London Overground, London Metropolitan is denoted by a double line, coloured magenta, to indicate that it is not an Underground line. Magenta itself is the designated colour of the London Metropolitan sector within TfL.

Rolling Stock[edit]

Owing to the £1.5bn purchase of new trains for all of London Undergrounds sub-surface lines, which saw 58 units ordered specifically for the Metropolitan line, London Metropolitan has not had to procure a significant amount of new rolling stock, as London Overground did when it was formed. Virtually all of London Metropolitan's services are operated by its fleet of 58 S8 Stock EMUs, which received the TOPS classification Class 509 to reflect the operation's status as a National Rail operator. However, the conversion of the Abbey Line to light rail operation required a dedicated fleet. Additionally, although there are plans to see this line extended into the centres of both Watford and St Albans, these have yet to receive any formal backing, and so the line retains full height platforms. To avoid purchasing brand new vehicles for what might only be a decade's worth of service, London Metropolitan chose to procure a number of redundant T-68 tram vehicles second hand from Manchester Metrolink, which became Class 511.

Current fleet[edit]

 Class  Image Type  Top speed   Number   Cars per set   Seat layout   Routes operated   Built 
 mph   km/h 
Class 509 S Stock at Harrow-on-the-Hill.jpg electric multiple unit 62 100 59 8 Longitudinal/2+2 Main Line/Uxbridge Branch/Amersham-Chesham Branch 2009–2012
Class 511 Metrolink tram.jpg electric multiple unit 50 80 8 2 2+2 Abbey Line 1991–1992


London Metropolitan's trains use a variation of the standard TfL corporate livery; all trains have a thick blue stripe along the bottom of the bodyshell, with a thin magenta stripe just above it, a white body and magenta doors. Additionally, while London Metropolitan trains at present only run on a very short part of the national network (i.e. the Abbey Line and the section between Watford High Street and Watford Junction), all of their trains have yellow ends, to comply with National Rail safety standards.

Future Developments[edit]

Aylesbury Vale Parkway station

The opening of the Watford-Amersham link provides direct access between those two destinations. However, London Metropolitan has an ultimate ambition of extending these services as far as Aylesbury. The construction of the East West Rail Link has given impetus to this, thanks to the plan to double track the through lines running through Aylesbury Vale Parkway, which will provide three platfforms - two through and one bay. As a consequence, London Metropolitan's proposal will see its Aylesbury-Watford terminate at Aylesbury Vale Parkway, which will mean less intrusive alteration work at Aylesbury to provide for the terminating services.

As there are no plans to electrify this section, London Metropolitan would have to procure a quantity of diesel multiple unit rolling stock.

Preceded by
London Underground
Metropolitan line operator
before 2013
Operator of London Metropolitan
2013 – present
Preceded by
London Midland
Abbey Line operator
before 2016