Met Line fasts stopping at Wembley Park

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AventraFlex

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Hi all,

I'm a regular traveller on the Tube, in fact before the pandemic I took it almost everywhere, even when I didn't need to. Before I move out of London I hope to have visited every station on the Tube map :lol:

One thing that's always irked me though is the northbound Met fasts stopping at Wembley Park.

Is there any particular reason why southbound fast trains in the morning peak pass through Wembley Park but northbound Met trains stop in the evening? And I mean fast trains specifically. Why not just have the semi-fasts call there while the fasts carry on through to Harrow? And why did the Met line stop operating fasts all day?

I know it's been a decade since this change was made so it feels pointless talking about it now, but travelling on the Met can be a pain sometimes that I just wind up taking the Chiltern Turbo when I travel up to Chorleywood.
 
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DavyCrocket

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Hi all,

I'm a regular traveller on the Tube, in fact before the pandemic I took it almost everywhere, even when I didn't need to. Before I move out of London I hope to have visited every station on the Tube map :lol:

One thing that's always irked me though is the northbound Met fasts stopping at Wembley Park.

Is there any particular reason why southbound fast trains in the morning peak pass through Wembley Park but northbound Met trains stop in the evening? And I mean fast trains specifically. Why not just have the semi-fasts call there while the fasts carry on through to Harrow? And why did the Met line stop operating fasts all day?

I know it's been a decade since this change was made so it feels pointless talking about it now, but travelling on the Met can be a pain sometimes that I just wind up taking the Chiltern Turbo when I travel up to Chorleywood.
It’s because on the southbound there would be a delay to local trains whilst the train stopped, as the signal is “called for” when it is north of the station. Whereas on the northbound that is not the case as it’s plain line.

could also be argued that having all trains stop there heading out of London can reduce the numbers of people waiting on platforms in central London where it is busier and with less space
 

Mojo

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Northbound trains stopping at Wembley Park also allows for customers to make a connection if they have boarded the wrong train. In the morning and particularly during service disruption when trains run fast, there may be trains coming out of the depot which enter customer service at Wembley Pk.
 

WideRanger

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There are also huge numbers of people getting off at Wembley Park. And with around 10,000 flats under construction (or recently constructed) within a 10 minute walk of the station, the demand is only going to increase.

Wembley Park is my local station, and I have often been annoyed when the stopping Metropolitan Trains are rammed from Wembley Park, while the Fasts go through and are significantly less full. But as well as signalling reasons given above, there is a layout reason why it makes less sense for the Fasts to stop at Wembley Park in the morning. The Fasts and the stopping are on different islands, so having both stopping potentially means large numbers of people crossing the bridges in the hope of getting the 'next train'. However, the stopping platform shares the island with the Jubilee Line. Experienced users will often decide whether to use the Met of the Jubilee southbound depending on the timings of the next train. Although the map suggests otherwise, in the morning peak, the Jubilee line normally only takes 2-3 minutes more to Baker Street from Wembley Park (and is sometimes faster) than the Met - because the Met tends to be pretty slow on the way down to the junction at Baker Street. Add to that that around 1 in 3 Jubilee line trains start from Wembley Park, so getting a seat can often tip the balance. The effect is that in the morning peak, both Met stoppers and Jubilee line trains southbound from Wembley Park are normally pretty packed.

in the reverse direction in the evening, it doesn't matter for most customers (i.e. those that are not changing on to the Jubilee Line) that the two Metropolitan Line platforms are on different islands at Wembley Park. So people will just get the first train that comes along. Correspondingly, Jubilee Line is far less used in the evening peak northbound by passengers to Wembley Park. In the evening, the slow trundle Northbound is on the Jubilee, because of the terminating trains (and therefore trains waiting) at West Hampstead, Willesden Green and Wembley Park.
 

Mojo

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And why did the Met line stop operating fasts all day?
I believe prior to the withdrawal of the majority Off-peak fast and Semi-fast trains (except for those that run during early mornings and during service disruption) that the Watford service was 6tph. This was reduced to the present service of 4tph and the Fast services were made all stations to compensate for the reduction in service primarily between Northwood & North Harrow. Don't also forget that these stations are in London, electing London political representatives, including the Mayor who is the Chairman of TfL.

Still, I have often wished that the Semi-fast trains would be brought back all day. It does lead to the somewhat strange situation where the omitted stations on Semi-fast trains are served by more trains at off peak times than at peak times.
 

stuu

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I believe prior to the withdrawal of the majority Off-peak fast and Semi-fast trains (except for those that run during early mornings and during service disruption) that the Watford service was 6tph. This was reduced to the present service of 4tph and the Fast services were made all stations to compensate for the reduction in service primarily between Northwood & North Harrow. Don't also forget that these stations are in London, electing London political representatives, including the Mayor who is the Chairman of TfL.

Still, I have often wished that the Semi-fast trains would be brought back all day. It does lead to the somewhat strange situation where the omitted stations on Semi-fast trains are served by more trains at off peak times than at peak times.
When I lived in Pinner in the early 2000s the Watford service was 6tph all day. Quite often this didn't mean every 10 minutes though, especially northbound

Southbound in the peak the services were often semi-fast, but going home a Watford semi-fast seemed to be mostly fictional... although I did quite often catch the Chesham Fast, which non-regular users would be reluctant to get on, as it is off the edge of the map. Non-stop to H-o-t-H from Finchley Road was a joy, although there were always a number of people who went up to the doors on the approach to Wembley Park (especially funny when Arsenal were playing there)
 

172101

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The best fast mets were in the early 1970's when the 2 though trains from Liverpool St to Chesham in the peaks which ran non-stop from Finchley Road to Moor Park via Platform 1 at HOTH as well.
The Uxbridge fast were Finchley Road to Rayners Lane and the Watfords Finchley Road to North Harrow. Only the slows stoped at Wembley Park and HOTH.
When I was at school I had a cab ride and the A stock which hit 68mph passing Neasden.
Mind you in those days Amersham only had one train an hour fast service and Watford and Uxbridge a 15 minute service off peak (All 4 car trains as well). Saturdays was 20 minutes on the branches.
 

njr001

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I remember in the 1970's travelling from Amersham on trains not stopping between Moor Park and Finchley Road being announced as Fast City Expresses by Amersham station staff. Oh for fast off peak trains today particularly at the moment with Chilterns reduced to one per hour.
 

AventraFlex

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Thanks for the replies you all, and for clearing that up. It makes a lot more sense to me now :)

The best fast mets were in the early 1970's when the 2 though trains from Liverpool St to Chesham in the peaks which ran non-stop from Finchley Road to Moor Park via Platform 1 at HOTH as well.
The Uxbridge fast were Finchley Road to Rayners Lane and the Watfords Finchley Road to North Harrow. Only the slows stoped at Wembley Park and HOTH.
When I was at school I had a cab ride and the A stock which hit 68mph passing Neasden.
Mind you in those days Amersham only had one train an hour fast service and Watford and Uxbridge a 15 minute service off peak (All 4 car trains as well). Saturdays was 20 minutes on the branches.
There are two videos on YouTube by citytransportinfo depicting A Stock trains passing through HOTH in the early 90s. I was born in '98, so my memories of the A Stock are somewhat hazy as they were being withdrawn around the time I was old enough to start remembering them properly. Such a shame too, I've always wanted to do a fast journey on an A Stock, the "proper" way imo. I've only travelled from Finchley Road to Harrow once (on a stopper) on an A Stock train, and my first ever S Stock journey was on the southbound journey back.

Here are the videos in question for anyone who's interested.


 

172101

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What is even more interesting is that the Met timetable was always reliable and you could set your watch by it!
How things have changed.
 

AlbertBeale

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The best fast mets were in the early 1970's when the 2 though trains from Liverpool St to Chesham in the peaks which ran non-stop from Finchley Road to Moor Park via Platform 1 at HOTH as well.
The Uxbridge fast were Finchley Road to Rayners Lane and the Watfords Finchley Road to North Harrow. Only the slows stoped at Wembley Park and HOTH.
When I was at school I had a cab ride and the A stock which hit 68mph passing Neasden.
Mind you in those days Amersham only had one train an hour fast service and Watford and Uxbridge a 15 minute service off peak (All 4 car trains as well). Saturdays was 20 minutes on the branches.

Do no Mets run through Platform 1 at HOTH these days?
 

jumble

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I believe prior to the withdrawal of the majority Off-peak fast and Semi-fast trains (except for those that run during early mornings and during service disruption) that the Watford service was 6tph. This was reduced to the present service of 4tph and the Fast services were made all stations to compensate for the reduction in service primarily between Northwood & North Harrow. Don't also forget that these stations are in London, electing London political representatives, including the Mayor who is the Chairman of TfL.

Still, I have often wished that the Semi-fast trains would be brought back all day. It does lead to the somewhat strange situation where the omitted stations on Semi-fast trains are served by more trains at off peak times than at peak times.

I too wish they were back as quite often you could catch up with an Uxbridge at HOTH and get home 7-8 minutes earlier
(I seem to recall that there was no stop at Wembley northbound before the Semi Fasts were made peak hours only
it seems bizarre that in these days of shortages of drivers LUL are not maximising the use of them

Yes, only in peak hours but they all stop at HOTH.
And only fasts can use Platform 1 not semi-fasts
It seems to be random as to whether fasts use Platform 1 or platform 3/4
It was speculated on District Dave that it was weather dependant but I have no idea and some of our friends in control would have a better idea
 

MichaelAMW

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I thought that when the timetable underwent its last major reformation, the one that saw the off-peak fasts disappearing, LUL said that all northbound evening trains were to call at Wembley so that they didn't need a special service when there were events on there.
 

philthetube

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I too wish they were back as quite often you could catch up with an Uxbridge at HOTH and get home 7-8 minutes earlier
(I seem to recall that there was no stop at Wembley northbound before the Semi Fasts were made peak hours only
it seems bizarre that in these days of shortages of drivers LUL are not maximising the use of them


And only fasts can use Platform 1 not semi-fasts
It seems to be random as to whether fasts use Platform 1 or platform 3/4
It was speculated on District Dave that it was weather dependant but I have no idea and some of our friends in control would have a better idea
It is not random, they are all booked through one or the other, but is often changed for operational reasons, usually to avoid obstructing Chiltern services.
 

A60stock

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The best fast mets were in the early 1970's when the 2 though trains from Liverpool St to Chesham in the peaks which ran non-stop from Finchley Road to Moor Park via Platform 1 at HOTH as well.
The Uxbridge fast were Finchley Road to Rayners Lane and the Watfords Finchley Road to North Harrow. Only the slows stoped at Wembley Park and HOTH.
When I was at school I had a cab ride and the A stock which hit 68mph passing Neasden.
Mind you in those days Amersham only had one train an hour fast service and Watford and Uxbridge a 15 minute service off peak (All 4 car trains as well). Saturdays was 20 minutes on the branches.

What exactly was the peak hour time timetable in the 70s and did you ever have a mix of 4 and 8 car trains operating on the line?

Does anyone anticipate off peak fast/semi fasts returning one day?

What exactly was the peak hour time timetable in the 70s and did you ever have a mix of 4 and 8 car trains operating on the line? I wonder if at key stations, whether announcements informed you of how many coaches your train would have.

Does anyone anticipate off peak fast/semi fasts returning one day?
 

bluegoblin7

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It was speculated on District Dave that it was weather dependant but I have no idea and some of our friends in control would have a better idea

It is not random, they are all booked through one or the other, but is often changed for operational reasons, usually to avoid obstructing Chiltern services.
Platform 1 is preferred for a whole host of reasons, but Fasts can be 'looped' in platform 3 if they are late running and a Chiltern is due. In the evening peak there are a number of Chilterns that are limited stop up the Met line, and these will generally get absolute priority.

During hot weather working both the South and North Junction are taken out of use and all Fast trains must run via the Local Lines north of Harrow (this changed last year; previously all Fast services would have to use platform 1 with only the North Junction out of use).
 

Railguy1

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During hot weather working both the South and North Junction are taken out of use and all Fast trains must run via the Local Lines north of Harrow (this changed last year; previously all Fast services would have to use platform 1 with only the North Junction out of use).

Why is this necessary?
 

172101

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What exactly was the peak hour time timetable in the 70s and did you ever have a mix of 4 and 8 car trains operating on the line?

Does anyone anticipate off peak fast/semi fasts returning one day?
Never a mix of 4 & 8. The peak started out with all trains as 8 car then from 0930 onwards everything was uncoupled at Watford /Uxbridge & Amersham Sdg to form 4 car trains during the day coupling up again after 1530 all the rest of the stock went into the depots. So the day time service consisted of 2 x 4 cars on the hourly Amersham-Baker St 9 x 4 on the Watford-Baker St (could have done it with a train less but they had a very long layover at Watford) and 7 x 4 on the Uxbridge-Baker St). Also the city service only ran through to the city from 0740 to 0940 & 1610 to 1830. Liverpool St/Moorgate & Aldgate were all used for turning round with 4 trains stabling in the city during the midday period. 2 at Moorgate and 1 at Liverpool St & Aldgate. So only 18 x 4 cars were in use.
On Saturdays al trains were 8 cars as the service was less frequent (ie 20 mins to both WAT & UXB).
On Sundays eveything started out as 4 cars then coupled up to 8 between 1600 & 1800 as the service was not busy. Also on Sunday one of the Watfords ran as a slow Amersham due to fact that the Aylesbury service only ran between Aylesbury & Amersham hourly which conected to into the fast Baker St, however this made a 30 minute gap for Croxley & Watford every hour but gave stations on the main line 2 tph.
When a train was uncoupled it was given a different number, ie:
Train 1 an Amersham service uncoupled to form 1 & 61. The same train then recoupled in the afternoon. This was all that was needed for the Amersham fast as only 2 trains were required.
The Watfords were 11+ to 51+
The Uxbridges were 31+ to 71+
The Watford & Uxbridge units did not recouple to the same units in the afternoon.
The Chesham shuttle was always a 4 car as the bay can only take a 4 car. The only 8 cars the & from Chesham were the 2 city fast trains (in the peaks) to & from Liverpool St.
The Amersham fast always left Baker Street Platform 4 at 31 minutes past the hour daily and on Sundays conected into the Chesham shuttle at Chalfont and the Aylesbury at Amersham. You could also travel on this the catch the Uxbridge which deprted at 27 at Harrow and the Watford that departed at 20 at Moor Park.
 
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rebmcr

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Why is this necessary?
When hot weather heats rails, they expand and 'try' to bend out of their usual alignment. It's fairly straightforward to use pre-tensioning on plain line sections (which compensates for it in advance), as well as additional clamps and sometimes even multi-rail strengthened sections along the sleepers inside the running rails, near structures like bridges that must be allowed some expansion to remain safe.

Points cannot be laid under tension because they have to move, and often there is no room for enough additional clamps. Therefore it's more reliable to "leave them be" — if they were to move while suffering thermal expansion, there is a good chance they won't fully reach their final position (nor the starting position when moved back), which will then cause the safety system to kick in and stop any trains running across any of the connected tracks.
 

A60stock

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Platform 1 is preferred for a whole host of reasons, but Fasts can be 'looped' in platform 3 if they are late running and a Chiltern is due. In the evening peak there are a number of Chilterns that are limited stop up the Met line, and these will generally get absolute priority.

During hot weather working both the South and North Junction are taken out of use and all Fast trains must run via the Local Lines north of Harrow (this changed last year; previously all Fast services would have to use platform 1 with only the North Junction out of use).
This doesn't sound like good news, infact it sounds like a step backwards. Northbound fast trains are likely to catch up with the previous local, causing delays? Why did the rule change all of a sudden to make the south junction also out of use?

Aren't the junctions due for some major upgrades at some point in the future?
 

philthetube

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only happens a few days a year, and then maybe only a couple of trains on those days.
 

bluegoblin7

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only happens a few days a year, and then maybe only a couple of trains on those days.
A bit more than that! And will generally affect the entirety of the evening peak once it's in.

I think everyone can agree a slightly slower journey time is preferable to a points failure suspending near enough the entirety of the Met line. The reasons for the HWP's existence were explained by @rebmcr.

Controllers & Signallers will do their best to route trains such that the fasts get as clear a run as possible, although naturally this is not always feasible.
 

Poolie

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I wonder if the Met Fasts were faster than the Nottingham Semi Fasts? Unlikely, but it would be great if there was video of a clapped out Britannia or Black 5 overtaking gleaming new A stock on the parallel lines before Harrow.
 

jumble

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As an aside anyone who wants to experience non stop through platform 1 at HOTH as the A60 did yesteryear can take Chiltern 1V51 or 1V52 or 1V55
 

bluegoblin7

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As an aside anyone who wants to experience non stop through platform 1 at HOTH as the A60 did yesteryear can take Chiltern 1V51 or 1V52 or 1V55
Although it is worth noting that none of these services are currently running.
 

A60stock

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Never a mix of 4 & 8. The peak started out with all trains as 8 car then from 0930 onwards everything was uncoupled at Watford /Uxbridge & Amersham Sdg to form 4 car trains during the day coupling up again after 1530 all the rest of the stock went into the depots. So the day time service consisted of 2 x 4 cars on the hourly Amersham-Baker St 9 x 4 on the Watford-Baker St (could have done it with a train less but they had a very long layover at Watford) and 7 x 4 on the Uxbridge-Baker St). Also the city service only ran through to the city from 0740 to 0940 & 1610 to 1830. Liverpool St/Moorgate & Aldgate were all used for turning round with 4 trains stabling in the city during the midday period. 2 at Moorgate and 1 at Liverpool St & Aldgate. So only 18 x 4 cars were in use.
On Saturdays al trains were 8 cars as the service was less frequent (ie 20 mins to both WAT & UXB).
On Sundays eveything started out as 4 cars then coupled up to 8 between 1600 & 1800 as the service was not busy. Also on Sunday one of the Watfords ran as a slow Amersham due to fact that the Aylesbury service only ran between Aylesbury & Amersham hourly which conected to into the fast Baker St, however this made a 30 minute gap for Croxley & Watford every hour but gave stations on the main line 2 tph.
When a train was uncoupled it was given a different number, ie:
Train 1 an Amersham service uncoupled to form 1 & 61. The same train then recoupled in the afternoon. This was all that was needed for the Amersham fast as only 2 trains were required.
The Watfords were 11+ to 51+
The Uxbridges were 31+ to 71+
The Watford & Uxbridge units did not recouple to the same units in the afternoon.
The Chesham shuttle was always a 4 car as the bay can only take a 4 car. The only 8 cars the & from Chesham were the 2 city fast trains (in the peaks) to & from Liverpool St.
The Amersham fast always left Baker Street Platform 4 at 31 minutes past the hour daily and on Sundays conected into the Chesham shuttle at Chalfont and the Aylesbury at Amersham. You could also travel on this the catch the Uxbridge which deprted at 27 at Harrow and the Watford that departed at 20 at Moor Park.

Judging by what you have said, it seems that 4 car trains never ran beyond baker Street i.e any aldgate bound train were always 8 car. Unless 4 car trains have travelled to the city in those days?

Did all platforms have 4 and 8 car stopping markers back in those days? Did 4 car trains stop towards the front end or back end of platforms?
 

Dstock7080

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Judging by what you have said, it seems that 4 car trains never ran beyond baker Street i.e any aldgate bound train were always 8 car. Unless 4 car trains have travelled to the city in those days?

Did all platforms have 4 and 8 car stopping markers back in those days? Did 4 car trains stop towards the front end or back end of platforms?
4-car trains only operated off-peak and weekends so didn’t operate into the City.

There were 4-car stopping marks in appropriate places, ie. at Harrow mid-platform SB, and only an 8-car diamond NB
 
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