Metropolitan Line

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Metropolitan Line
Colour on map Magenta
Year opened 1863
Line type Sub-Surface
Rolling stock A Stock
Stations served 34
Length (km) 66.7
Length (miles) 41.5
Depots Neasden
Wembley Park
Journeys made 53,697,000 (per annum)
Rail lines of
Transport for London
London Underground lines
  East London
  Hammersmith & City
  Waterloo & City
Other lines
  Docklands Light Railway
  Overground (starts November 2007)

The Metropolitan Line is part of the London Underground, coloured magenta on the Tube map. It was the first underground railway (or subway) in the world, opening on January 10, 1863 (however, parts of that initial section are no longer served by the Metropolitan Line, but by the Hammersmith & City, District and Circle lines). The main line runs from Aldgate in the City of London to Amersham, with branch lines to Uxbridge, Watford and Chesham. For the initial section of the Line the rails are in tunnel for much of the way; beyond Baker Street, at Finchley Road the Line runs in the open.

The four-track layout for part of the distance — between Wembley Park and Moor Park — allows for the running of express or "fast" services to the outer suburbs. Baker Street is the terminus for many trains, but others complete their journeys into the City to Aldgate.


[edit] History

The origins of the Metropolitan Line lie with the incorporation, in 1853, of the North Metropolitan Railway, the original name of the Metropolitan Railway, which railway had been empowered, with the Metropolitan District Railway to complete an Inner Circle of railways in London. The first section was opened from near Paddington to Farringdon Street (now Farringdon station) in January 1863; work on the railway had begun in February 1860 using the "cut-and-cover" method of construction. This caused massive traffic disruption in north London: during the work the Fleet Sewer bursting into the diggings, flooding the partly-built tunnel.

Another major change took place in 1988, when the Hammersmith & City Line and East London Line – which already had well-defined individual identities – were split off from the Metropolitan Line to be run separately. The Metropolitan Line is now confined to its northern extension from Baker Street, through the area that came to be known as "Metro-land", plus its original track to Aldgate, running through the tunnels opened by the Metropolitan Railway back in 1868. The Metropolitan and East London Lines use the same trains and are still physically linked, although there is no longer a passenger interchange.

In 1998, the Metropolitan Line was partly privatised in a controversial Public-Private Partnership. It is now part of the "Sub-Surface Railways" group, managed along with the Circle, Hammersmith & City and District lines by the Metronet consortium.

The Metropolitan Line's influence on underground railways world-wide has been immense. The Paris Metro took its name, in full Chemin de fer métropolitain, from the Metropolitan Line. This is the origin of the term metro.

[edit] Trains

Image:London Underground subsurface and tube trains.jpg
The train on the left is a Metropolitan Line A Stock unit, the smaller train is a Piccadilly Line 1973 tube stock train

The current rolling stock in use on the Metropolitan Line is the sub-surface gauge A Stock built by Cravens in Sheffield, which is shared between the Metropolitan and East London lines. While it ran in service with unpainted aluminium bodywork for many years, since refurbishment the stock has received the now standard white and blue Underground livery, with red ends. Metropolitan Line services are usually formed of two four-car units coupled together for a total of eight cars, although the Chesham shuttle service and the East London Line are both served by four-car trains.

The A Stock trains were built in the early 1960s and are now the oldest trains operating on the London Underground. They replaced a wide variety of older rolling stock, including trains with hinged doors and compartments (T Stock electric multiple units for Watford services and locomotive-hauled carriages for Aylesbury services), as well as F Stock (built in 1920) used on Uxbridge services. The A Stock trains are due to be replaced by the new S Stock.

[edit] Map

Image:Metropolitan Line.svg
Geographical layout of the Metropolitan Line

[edit] Stations

in order from east to west

[edit] Shared Circle and Hammersmith and City Lines

[edit] Core section

The Metropolitan line diverges from the Circle/Hammersmith & City lines just east of Baker Street station, where they use separate platforms, at a roughly 45 degree angle to the Circle/Hammersmith & City platforms.

At Wembley Park, the Metropolitan lines split from two tracks to four, with the faster lines on the outside. Fast services (typically to Amersham) and semi-fast services (typically to Watford) do not stop at Preston Road or Northwick Park. During the peaks, they also skip Wembley Park.

At Harrow, the line splits into two branches — the main line to Northwood and the Uxbridge branch.

[edit] Uxbridge branch

(continuing from Harrow on the Hill)

[edit] Northwood branch

(continuing from Harrow on the Hill)

After Harrow-on-the-Hill the lines are re-arranged into two parallel pairs, the slow (the northerly pair) and the fast. The fast lines are also shared with the National Rail line to Aylesbury (operated by Chiltern Railways) which had hitherto run parallel. The stations between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Moor Park (exclusive) only have platforms on the slow lines, and can only be stopped at by slow and semi-fast services, which usually run to Watford. At Moor Park the line splits, with the fast line forming the main line towards Amersham and the slow line heading off towards Watford.

[edit] Watford branch

(continuing from Moor Park - a triangular connection also exists, allowing trains to run between Watford and Rickmansworth, and there are a few early-morning/late-evening services that do this).

[edit] Towards Amersham

(continuing from Moor Park)

Stations between Rickmansworth and Amersham are also served by most Chiltern services to Aylesbury.

Here trains either continue to Amersham or, during peak hours, go straight through on a separate branch to Chesham. At all other times there is a shuttle between Chalfont & Latimer and Chesham, which involves a change from Amersham trains. The service frequency between Chalfont & Latimer and Chesham is roughly every 30 minutes.


[edit] Current service pattern

The Metropolitan line, unlike other London Underground lines, operates express services (the Piccadilly Line runs a fast service between Hammersmith and Turnham Green/Acton Town, but the intermediate stations are served by the District Line, and so all Piccadilly Line trains stop at all regular Piccadilly Line stations on their route, in the same way as the Metropolitan by-passes Jubilee Line stations between Finchley Road and Wembley Park). Fast services, usually to Amersham, call at Baker Street, Finchley Road, Wembley Park, Harrow-on-the-Hill, Moor Park and then all stations. There are also semi-fast services, usually in the peak, which use the fast stopping pattern as far as Harrow-on-the-Hill, but then run all stations, usually to Watford.

The current off-peak service pattern is as follows:

  • 6tph Uxbridge — Aldgate (all stations)
  • 6tph Watford — Baker Street (all stations)
  • 4tph Amersham — Baker Street (Fast). This section is also served by 2tph Chiltern Railways trains between Marylebone and Aylesbury, providing a 6tph service between Amersham and London.
  • 2tph Chesham — Chalfont & Latimer
(tph=trains per hour)

During peak hours the services vary much more. Trains can run through from Aldgate to any destination, and each terminus gets a mixture of fast and semi-fast, which generally don't stop at Wembley Park, and all stations services. Through trains also run between Chesham and London. There are also a few early-morning/late-evening trains from Rickmansworth to Watford.

[edit] Future plans

[edit] Croxley Rail Link

Transport for London and Hertfordshire County Council are developing plans to divert the line from the current Watford station and re-route it over the disused Croxley Green branch line to Watford Junction. The current station is located in a housing estate by Cassiobury Park, rather than serving the centre of Watford. A new station would be provided at Ascot Road and Watford West will be refurbished and reopened. See this for details.

[edit] Reorganisation

As part of a wider overhaul of the Sub-Surface Lines, there are also plans to run through Metropolitan Line trains from Uxbridge to Barking. This would be to replace Hammersmith & City Line services which would be curtailed or withdrawn as part of the Circle Line re-organisation. However, this would either require new rolling stock or civil engineering works as there are a number of gauge infingements which mean that Metropolitan stock is banned east of Aldgate. [1] [2]

[edit] External links

it:Metropolitan Line nl:Metropolitan Line no:Metropolitan-linjen zh:都市線

Metropolitan Line

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