Metropolitan Line

The Metropolitan line runs from Amersham to Aldgate, with branches from Chesham, Watford and Uxbridge. The line covers 41.5 miles / 67 km although only six of those miles, between Finchley Road and Aldgate, are actually underground. It serves 34 stations with the distance of 3.89 miles between Chesham and Chalfont & Latimer being the longest distance between two adjacent stations anywhere on the Underground system. Chesham also holds the distinction of being the most westerly and the most northerly station on the network.

The section of line between Uxbridge and Rayners Lane is shared with the Piccadilly line, and between Baker Street and Aldgate with the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines. While the average train speed on the network is 20 mph, trains on the Metropolitan line reach speeds of 60 mph when in the open countryside outside Central London.

During peak hours some trains don't stop at all stations, running fast or semi-fast. However, all trains stop at Finchley Road and Harrow-on-the-Hill.

The original Metropolitan line opened in 1863 between Paddington and Farringdon Street and was the first underground railway in the world. The locomotives were run on steam and had wooden carriages.

The line has been extended and altered in stages over the years. In 1915, in an effort to encourage housing development along the line's north-west extension, the marketing department coined the term Metroland. The line took on its present form in 1961 but is due to change again in 2017 when the Watford branch line will be rerouted after Croxley. Watford station will close and two new stations, Cassiobridge and Watford Vicarage Road will open, with the line continuing to the Overground stations of Watford High Street and Watford Junction where the line will terminate.

Keeping as close to the line as possible, the walk overground was 49.2 miles, nearly 8 miles longer than the line.

Amersham station, the terminus of the Metropolitan line, is not in London but in Buckinghamshire. The station was opened on 1 September 1892 as part of the Metropolitan Railway extension from Chalfont Road to Aylesbury. The station is also served by Chiltern Railways.

Entrance to Chalfont & Latimer station for ticket holders only.

Chalfont & Latimer station opened as Chalfont Road in 1889 with the name changed in 1915.

Chesham station, the single platformed terminus of one of the branch lines and the most westerly station on the Underground system.

The walk to the next station takes us through beautiful wooded areas.

Back to Chalfont & Latimer station.

The walk on to the next station takes us into Hertfordshire.

Chorleywood station, opened as Chorley Wood with the name changed to its present form in 1964.

On the way to the next station through the lovely countryside of Hertfordshire.

The road goes under the M25.

Rickmansworth station with its odd frontage.

On the way to the next station past Batchworth lock.

Inside Moor Park private residential estate, looking back to the gatehouse and barrier at the entrance. The estate consists of hundreds of houses plus a small row of shops and two independent schools for boys.

Moor Park station in the middle of the estate is served by Underground trains with Chiltern Railways trains passing through without stopping.

Watford station in Hertfordshire, terminus of the third branch line on the Metropolitan line. The station building, designed by Charles Walter Clark in Arts and Crafts style, was opened in 1925 and is scheduled to close in 2017 when the line is rerouted. The line will serve two new stations, Cassiobridge and Watford Vicarage Road and continue to Watford High Street and terminate at Watford Junction. The latter two stations are currently served by the Overground.

Under the line on the way to the next station.

Croxley station opened in 1925 as Croxley Green with the name changing in 1949.

On the way to the next station through Croxley Common Moor.

Past the gatehouse and barrier back into Moor Park private residential estate.

Moor Park station for a second time.

Northwood, the first station on the line in Greater London was opened in 1887 and rebuilt in the early 1960s. It has two platforms on the slow lines with none on the fast lines.

Northwood Hills station opened in 1933. The area is lower than Northwood despite the name.

On the way to the next station past Pinner Police Station with its old lantern style sign.

Pinner station was opened in 1885. It was prominent in the Metroland project when newly built houses near the station were sold for 400 pounds.

Round the corner, the back entrance to Pinner station.

A particularly grim looking North Harrow station.

Harrow-on-the-Hill station, opened in 1880 as Harrow, has six platforms. It is the junction for trains branching off towards Uxbridge.

Uxbridge station, terminus of the Uxbridge branches on both the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines. The original station, opened in 1904, was situated north of the existing station alongside what is now sidings. The new station, designed by Charles Holden, was built in 1933.

Beautiful stained glass panels in the ticket hall.

A close-up of the stained glass panels which show the arms of the old Middlesex County Council on the left, in the centre the arms of local landowners, the Bassett family, and on the right a historic emblem of Buckinghamshire.

Outside the station, a post box painted gold in honour of Natasha Baker who won an equestrian gold medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Hillingdon station from a distance showing the odd station building arrangement.

The station proper is reached by a pedestrian bridge.

Hillingdon Station was called Hillingdon (Swakeleys) between the mid-1930s and the mid-1950s and the roundels on the platform still show that name.

Looking at the railway tracks which go over a main road and then under another further along. The pedestrian bridge is on the right of the picture.

A rather sad looking Ickenham station building.

The walk to the next station takes us past West Ruislip station, the terminus of the Central line.

Off the road, down some steps to walk alongside the track to the front of Ruislip station.

Ruislip station.

Ruislip Manor station opened in 1912 as Ruislip Manor Halt. It was rebuilt in 1938, and the platforms rebuilt in 2006.

The impressive bridge beside the station.

Eastcote station opened in 1906 as Eastcote Halt. The station building was rebuilt between 1937 and 1939 to a design by Charles Holden.

Rayners Lane station opened in 1906 as Rayners Lane Halt, named after local farmer Daniel Rayner. The station is another 1930s Charles Holden design rebuild.

Over the road from the station, a footpath takes us over the rails.

Looking down from the footbridge at the point where the Piccadilly and Metropolitan lines split.

West Harrow station.

While the platform for eastbound trains is accessed through the station building, the entrance to the platform for westbound trains to Uxbridge is a little way up the road. The platform has no ticket barriers.

Back to Harrow-on-the-Hill station ...

... and through the station building and out the other entrance.

Northwick Park station served by 'slow' trains on the line. At peak times 'fast' trains will not stop here.

Preston Road station. Like the previous station served only by 'slow' trains.

Wembley Park station showing the newer entrance built to accommodate the crowds attending events at the nearby Wembley Stadium and Arena.

Just outside the station stands the modern steel sculpture by Danny Lane entitled 'Man Catching Star' which represents the aspirations of those who play football and perform at Wembley.

The original station building and former entrance to Wembley Park station, built in 1923 and still in use connecting with the newer entrance inside.

The walk to Finchley Road station was 5.2 miles. The line passes several other stations on the way but the trains do not stop. These five stations are served by the Jubilee line.

On the way to the next station we pass three unused or ghost stations. The first of these was a subsurface station situated close to today's Swiss Cottage station. It closed less than a year after the new station opened. It is thought that the two stations were connected underground. This brick structure, which surrounds a skylight that still illuminates the platform area below, is all that is left of the abandoned station at ground level.

The second ghost station, Marlborough Road station, stands just north of today's St John's Wood. It was opened in 1868 and closed in 1939 when St John's Wood opened. The building is now used as a substation to provide power to the Tube.

Lords station is the third abandoned station on this stretch of the old Metropolitan line. Like the previous ghost station it was closed in 1939 when St John's Wood station opened. The door here opens onto steps which lead down to what remains of the platforms which themselves are visible from passing trains.

The Lost Property Office where all lost items found on the Underground system are stored. It is situated just before the next station.

Baker Street station. The entrance to the subsurface lines which includes the Hammersmith and City and Circle lines as well as the Metropolitan line is situated on the Marylebone Road. The entrance in Baker Street was originally for the deeper level Jubilee and Bakerloo lines. The station has ten platforms, more than any other station on the Tube network.

Great Portland Street station was called Portland Road when it opened in 1863 and the name changed in 1917.

On the way to the next station the BT Tower can be seen close by. In 1965 when it was opened it was called the Post Office Tower and has since seen several name changes.

Euston Square station opened in 1863 as Gower Street with the name changing in 1909.

One of the subway entrances to King's Cross St Pancras station. The station is the biggest interchange station on the Underground serving six lines as well as two National Rail stations. St Pancras mainline station building can be seen in the background.

The magnificent King's Cross mainline station stands beside St Pancras station. The two stations were originally built by separate companies in different styles, both impressive in their way.

On the way to the next station The Shard and St Paul's Cathedral can be seen in the distance. The picture here doesn't do the spectacle justice.

Farringdon station's new side entrance.

The beautiful Farringdon station building. In 1863 Farringdon Street station was opened a short distance away as the terminus of the original Metropolitan Railway and was relocated in 1865. It was renamed Farringdon & High Holborn in 1922, the name still showing on the facade today. The name was changed to Farringdon in 1936.

Barbican station originally called Aldersgate Street, changed to Aldersgate and Barbican, and finally in 1968 changed to its present name. The entrance is through a modern building to an older footbridge leading to the eastern end of the platforms. From the other end of the platforms, the western side, can be seen the beginning of the tunnels going under Smithfield Market where at one time livestock were unloaded from trains.

Moorgate station was opened in 1865 when the line was extended beyond Farringdon. Building for Crossrail is currently underway necessitating this temporary entrance.

One of a couple of replica platform signs showing the diamond logo used by the Metropolitan Railway when it was independent from the London Underground.

Liverpool Street station. The Underground entrance is open Mondays to Fridays. At other times the entrance is in the mainline station building over the road.

The walk to the next station takes us through a lovely old arcade of shops.

Past the building at 30 St Mary Axe, known as the gherkin. The 41-storey office building opened in 2004.

Aldgate station, the Metropolitan line terminus, opened in 1876. The awning is supported from above by cables anchored by two attractive art deco style brackets.

Ann Voysey