STEAM AND ELECTRICITY COMBINE to serve London’s millions. Here is a Pullman car train hauled by the electric locomotive “Michael Faraday” on the Metropolitan line between Baker Street and Aylesbury, Bucks. To the right is the 4.55 pm Manchester express shortly after having left the LNER terminus at Marylebone.
NOT only is London one of the largest cities in the world, but it is also one of the greatest railway centres, and the first capital to be served by a public railway. Within a radius of twenty-
The fascinating story of this development of just under a century has yet to be told in detail, and only a sketch can be essayed here. There are so many phases to chronicle. First, the railway entered London as a means of communication with the rest of Great Britain; then the suburban network began to be created; afterwards came the underground railway as a purely short-
It is difficult, if not impossible, to realise to-
There is to-
The underground line was laid on the mixed gauge, and the Metropolitan was able to borrow the necessary equipment from the Great Northern and London and North Western Railways until its own was ready. Since the traffic for the first three weeks of operation averaged over 29,000 passengers a day, it will be realised that a considerable degree of public inconvenience would have resulted from even a temporary suspension of the service. The Great Northern’s reason for coming to the assistance of its smaller neighbour were, perhaps, not entirely disinterested. Since 1863 it had operated a through suburban service over the Metropolitan, by means of a connecting line, at King’s Cross. At first this service ended at Farringdon Street, but it was shortly afterwards extended to Moorgate, which still acts as a subsidiary LNER terminus. It is on record that, “in celebration of the first through journey from the Great Northern main line, the passengers launched a frontal attack on the refreshment-
Moorgate thus occupies a somewhat exceptional position on the London railway map, serving both as a through station on the Metropolitan Section of the Underground system, and as a terminus for one of the main railways. It also furnishes an instance of a vanished service, that formerly provided by the South Eastern and Chatham.
At one time the Metropolitan was to have been an important link in a grandiose scheme that to some extent anticipated grouping. Sir Edward Watkin, its chairman, who was “gifted with a superb imagination which made light of difficulties”, planned a great north-
A “General Terminus”
The period between 1860 and 1870, during which the present Willesden Junction was opened and through communication provided between the main lines north and south of the Thames by means of the West London and West London Extension Railways, is particularly rich in examples of now extinct through short-
The latter station was opened in 1860, with the primary purpose of providing a West End terminus for the London, Brighton and South Coast and London, Chatham and Dover Railways. Neither of these systems was, however, directly concerned in its construction, which was undertaken by a separate undertaking. The Victoria Station and Pimlico Railway Company was incorporated in 1858 “to construct a general terminus at Pimlico, and a line to be connected with the West End and Crystal Palace at Battersea”. The phrase, “general terminus”, is of particular interest, since Victoria provides the nearest approach that London possesses to the “union stations” so common in the United States, and of which the English capital would also have had at least one -
GREAT BRITAIN’S LARGEST STATION, Waterloo, can be seen in the foreground of this aerial photograph. On the far side of it, to the right, is Waterloo Junction, with the lines of the Eastern Section of the Southern Railway coming in, and running over the river across Hungerford Bridge (left) to Charing Cross Station. The old and new (temporary) Waterloo Bridges can also be seen.
These projects mainly envisaged a terminal station in the Central London area to be used by several companies, and a more restricted scheme of the kind very nearly materialised. This was for a joint station -
ST JAMES’ PARK STATION. The entrance to this District Station as it appeared in the pre-
But to return to Victoria. The route length of the Pimlico Railway was a mile and a quarter, which included the section of the bridge across the Thames. A year after the opening of the station, the Chatham and Dover portion was jointly leased to that company and the Great Western for a period of 999 years, on the basis of an increasing rental. This arrangement, of course, necessitated the laying of broad-
THE MODERN UNDERGROUND STATION entrance is typified by St James’ Park Station as it is to-
It may perhaps be asked why through services of this nature, some operating over a relatively long mileage, should have been provided so many years ago but should not be available to-
THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICT RAILWAY, familiarly known as the “District”, was originally steam-
The “rumbling omnibus” was at one time a direct railway interest, the Metropolitan operating a service in the West End. This ran between Portland Road (now Great Portland Street) Station and Piccadilly Circus, and had three peculiarities. The vehicles adopted the Continental practice of carrying two classes of passenger; they were drawn by three horses, and they carried a large umbrella. The last gave its distinctive name to the service, which was worked for only a brief period. and never received Parliamentary sanction.
Another vanished through service of the 1860-
ON THE “INNER CIRCLE”. The name originated when the lines of the “District” and the Metropolitan met to form an irregular oval. This last gap on the railway loop beneath London was from Mansion House to Moorgate Street. The whole of the “Inner Circle Railway” was opened in 1884. The last steam trains were withdrawn on this line in 1905. This photograph shows one of the old-
The most celebrated, and probably the most generally useful, of all these vanished services was the “Outer Circle”, which was worked over the tracks of no fewer than five companies -
EQUIPPED IN MODERN STYLE. This is a section of the large circular underground ticket hall at Piccadilly Station, on the Piccadilly Line. The first section of this line between Hammersmith and Finsbury Park was completed in December, 1906. It is now under the direct control of the London Passenger Transport Board.
The Great Western used also for many years to operate a service -
The “Middle Circle” service was replaced by one between Moorgate and Addison Road on the electrification of the Metropolitan, when, because of Great Western’s partnership in the Hammersmith and City Line, it became worked by the first jointly owned electric passenger stock in the kingdom.
Joint stock, built for the London Electric and London and North Western Railways, was introduced in 1920 for the Bakerloo through service to Watford. This deserves special mention as a characteristic example of developments that have rendered the old through services unnecessary. On its opening, in 1906, the Bakerloo Tube was a short and entirely underground line, with termini at Baker Street and Waterloo. It gradually outgrew the boundaries of the central London area, extending to Elephant and Castle on the south and to Queen’s Park on the north.
A “Ghost Station”
To Queen’s Park Station, which is on the LMS main line (Western Section), the Tube trains began to run in 1915. Two years later Watford was reached (over the LMS tracks), though until 1917 the service was worked only on weekdays. Since then, the London Electric Railway has been linked to both the District and the City and South London systems, and the latter has in turn extended southwards to Morden, while there are now also two separate “Underground” routes (largely on the surface) to Uxbridge, Ealing, and Hounslow.
From the beginning the Tubes provided accommodation for only one class of passenger, while the Metropolitan and District originally had three classes. Following the example of the main-
Side by side with the provision of new and improved facilities has gone the closing of passenger stations to traffic. This has been carried out to the most noteworthy extent on the Eastern Section of the Southern Railway, where motor omnibus and tramway competition were the original causes. Another example is the Midland main-
For instance, when Knightsbridge Station on the Piccadilly Line was opened in 1934, Brompton Road was closed. This station was officially described as having been “for many years past the least used of the London Passenger Transport Board’s stations in Central London”. And there is the Central London’s “ghost station” -
THE OVERHAUL OF UNDERGROUND ROLLING STOCK owned by the London Passenger Transport Board is carried out at their Acton Works, Middlesex. The picture shows a section of the car body shop where brake equipment is handled. Units to be overhauled here, which include drivers’ brake valves, triple valves, tripcocks and air door engines, are distributed to the repair benches by a moving conveyor. The number of cars overhauled each year at Acton amounts to about 1,500.
Reference has been made in this chapter to vanished train services. There is also an instance of revival after many years of suspension. A junction at Baker Street permits of through running between the Metropolitan’s City and Extension lines. Many years ago the service was withdrawn, and it was not restored until after the electrification of the system, when improved signalling methods were introduced. It is on these through services that the only Pullman cars on the “Underground” are operated. Another distinction of the London railway system is that in no other city in the world are Pullmans provided for the exclusive benefit of suburban passengers.
The provision of such amenities is the more remarkable when it is recalled that for many years some of the main-
The “Five Year Plan”
It is difficult to say whether the most remarkable development of the London railway system during the past thirty years has been the provision of new and improved facilities or the vast speeding-
THE EXODUS from the City at week-
[From part 40, published 1 November 1935]