Rural London Underground

frodshamfella

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I don't live int he SE anymore, but i've always found those underground lines that venture far out of the built out areas quite curious and slightly out of place as I always associate "The Tube" in central London. I have been on the Central Lines as far as Epping once, and I went to Stanmore ones, but I have never been anywhere up the Metropolitan line north of the capital.

I wonder if anyone can recommend a favorite rural underground line to travel on and share their experience ?

Thank you.
 
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Vespa

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I thought Central line Roding Valley branch to be quite interesting. Mill Hill East branch goes over the highest bridge on the underground and I find the walk beyond the terminus along the former Great Northern Railway track bed interesting.

Equally the Bakerloo line using 1972 stock would be considered a museum line along with flicking lights which even go out completely as it goes over points.
....

Closer to home I think Liverpool Merseyrail electric has an interesting branch from the underground section to West Kirby with countryside on one side and the sea on the other.

It would probably surprise some to know that Liverpool has underground stations and sub surface stations not so different from London.
 

ChiefPlanner

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I don't live int he SE anymore, but i've always found those underground lines that venture far out of the built out areas quite curious and slightly out of place as I always associate "The Tube" in central London. I have been on the Central Lines as far as Epping once, and I went to Stanmore ones, but I have never been anywhere up the Metropolitan line north of the capital.

I wonder if anyone can recommend a favorite rural underground line to travel on and share their experience ?

Thank you.
It would be hard to beat the Chesham branch for a truly "rural" single track line - yet connected in normal times by a direct through service to Central London every 30 mins. About 4 miles long and very attractive ride through woodland and the classic Chiltern valley of the Chess.

East of Moor - Park to Watford is a pleasant ride with a crossing of the Grand Union Canal , and the climb to Chalfont and Amersham is again worth doing. All quite attractive places - and Chorleywood for the Common - nice pub there ("The Old Shepherd" makes a good lunch spot , - with train observation possible. (Chiltern and LUL)

These are the best , I find the Central to West Ruislip via Hanger Lane about the least interesting ......
 

frodshamfella

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Frodsham
I thought Central line Roding Valley branch to be quite interesting. Mill Hill East branch goes over the highest bridge on the underground and I find the walk beyond the terminus along the former Great Northern Railway track bed interesting.

Equally the Bakerloo line using 1972 stock would be considered a museum line along with flicking lights which even go out completely as it goes over points.
....

Closer to home I think Liverpool Merseyrail electric has an interesting branch from the underground section to West Kirby with countryside on one side and the sea on the other.

It would probably surprise some to know that Liverpool has underground stations and sub surface stations not so different from London.
Hi

I work in Liverpool so know the Liverpool underground fairly well and would agree with you regarding the West Kirby branch.
 

frodshamfella

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Frodsham
It would be hard to beat the Chesham branch for a truly "rural" single track line - yet connected in normal times by a direct through service to Central London every 30 mins. About 4 miles long and very attractive ride through woodland and the classic Chiltern valley of the Chess.

East of Moor - Park to Watford is a pleasant ride with a crossing of the Grand Union Canal , and the climb to Chalfont and Amersham is again worth doing. All quite attractive places - and Chorleywood for the Common - nice pub there ("The Old Shepherd" makes a good lunch spot , - with train observation possible. (Chiltern and LUL)

These are the best , I find the Central to West Ruislip via Hanger Lane about the least interesting ......
Thanks for the tip.
 

John Webb

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I remember visiting cousins at Whetstone in the 1950s and being surprised at the rural appearance of the Northern line to High Barnet once north of Woodside Park, compared to the built-up areas of SE London we'd travelled from on the Southern Region of BR.
 

bramling

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I don't live int he SE anymore, but i've always found those underground lines that venture far out of the built out areas quite curious and slightly out of place as I always associate "The Tube" in central London. I have been on the Central Lines as far as Epping once, and I went to Stanmore ones, but I have never been anywhere up the Metropolitan line north of the capital.

I wonder if anyone can recommend a favorite rural underground line to travel on and share their experience ?

Thank you.
The Central Line has always been atmospheric at the eastern end (beyond Leytonstone and especially beyond Woodford), however some of this atmosphere has been lost since the 1990s with the closure of the Ongar section, the demise of the silver 1962 stock which always seemed to go hand-in-hand with the rural atmosphere, closure of signal cabins, and of course greater passenger numbers nowadays especially off-peak.
 

greyman42

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There is a documentary called "Metroland" which covers what you are asking for. Someone on the forum will be able to tell you if it is still available
 

ATW Alex 101

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For a brief period when I was doing a secondment in Canary Wharf, I commuted in daily from Epping and always enjoyed the ride, appreciating the ‘tube’ train running through rural Essex countryside. The Metropolitan line branches are also good for what you are interested in.

Not quite ‘rural’ as it goes, but the DLR network in its entirety is always somewhat fascinating ride! Especially running amongst some modern architecture. Even better when you are at the front! Until the operator turfs you out of his seat.:lol:
 

ChiefPlanner

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There is a documentary called "Metroland" which covers what you are asking for. Someone on the forum will be able to tell you if it is still available
About £25 on Amazon - a truly magnificent documentary from 1972. Entertaining , quirky and informative.

The speeded up intro cab view , ends at Chesham !
 

ChiefPlanner

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For a brief period when I was doing a secondment in Canary Wharf, I commuted in daily from Epping and always enjoyed the ride, appreciating the ‘tube’ train running through rural Essex countryside. The Metropolitan line branches are also good for what you are interested in.

Not quite ‘rural’ as it goes, but the DLR network in its entirety is always somewhat fascinating ride! Especially running amongst some modern architecture. Even better when you are at the front! Until the operator turfs you out of his seat.:lol:

DLR hardly rural - but I was invited on the first , opening train with J Gummer MP from Beckton - way back - the area was akin to those shots you see of the extension into the empty vastnesses of the Bronx in NYC around 1906 - an elevated railway with stations , and with no development (then).

Beckton of course had an immense gas works , which massively polluted the area , all of which was expensively cleared.

Anyway - we digress from the many joys of outer Metroland. Just past it's Spring best with flowers , primroses and so on.
 

si404

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Just past it's Spring best with flowers , primroses and so on.
Primroses are called prim-roses because they are the first to appear and the first to go. They herald spring in winter and go around about the beginning of actual spring.

The bluebells are in now - and the large carpeting of the woods of bluebells each year tends to be the wildflower highlight.
 

pitdiver

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As a former Met employee let me say it was an absolute pleasure working out on the north end of the Met. Particularly on a summer Sunday morning when we had a train every 30 mins. Strangely Chesham was busier on a Sunday afternoon than on a Monday to Friday one. This was due to the number of Hikers that would visit us.
 

Vespa

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I used to stay in a caravan park near Debden in the 90s as my Dad's work on the M25 took him there, the family treated it like a holiday home during the school holidays,, I do remember seeing all the countryside and Epping forest near the tube line, I regularly took the tube train to London or Epping to explore.
Nice memories.
 

Mikey C

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As a former Met employee let me say it was an absolute pleasure working out on the north end of the Met. Particularly on a summer Sunday morning when we had a train every 30 mins. Strangely Chesham was busier on a Sunday afternoon than on a Monday to Friday one. This was due to the number of Hikers that would visit us.
Yes, there are some very nice walks around Chesham, and being on Oyster/TfL fares, getting there is a bargain when compared to taking Chiltern trains to other parts of the Chilterns!
 

EssexGonzo

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I lived in Chesham for part of my childhood and seeing the tube in town and at the station remained a novelty - still is, I guess!

I've lived in Essex - Dunmow and Shenfield, with Ongar in between - for 28 years now so can remember seeing the tube trains at Ongar too. Again, still a novelty.
 

Ianno87

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Yes, there are some very nice walks around Chesham, and being on Oyster/TfL fares, getting there is a bargain when compared to taking Chiltern trains to other parts of the Chilterns!
Even Chesham to Amersham is a pleasant walk!
 

Mikey C

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I lived in Chesham for part of my childhood and seeing the tube in town and at the station remained a novelty - still is, I guess!

I've lived in Essex - Dunmow and Shenfield, with Ongar in between - for 28 years now so can remember seeing the tube trains at Ongar too. Again, still a novelty.
I'm angry with my younger self for not doing the Ongar branch while it was still part of the Underground!
 

si404

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Even Chesham to Amersham is a pleasant walk!
And the annoyance of the uphill is outweighed by the joy of getting out of Chesham! :p

Depends on which way you go, but I guess the Christmas Tree Farm/short bit of woods on the climb out of the Chesham bowl does give some non-urbanness on the main A416, making it pleasant enough for Londoners.
 
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About 35 years ago I went for a walk in Epping Forest. Started at Chingford, eventually ended up at Theydon Bois. Coming across a London Underground bullseye in rural Essex was certainly strange. I don’t recall having a map, but did have a general feeling that I’d end up somewhere suitable.
 

ChiefPlanner

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A tremendous walk is from Watford Met via the Grand Union Canal to Rickmansworth - goes under the Met Main / Chiltern at one point. Very enjoyable (and easy)
 

Mikey C

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Chorleywood to Chesham is very nice, either straight along the River Chess or diverting a bit into the hills
 

Mikey C

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Indeed while my mind is occupied with walks I will do once the lockdown starts being lifted, there is some really nice green belt countryside, surprisingly near the centre of London in the Totteridge/Mill Hill area, not too far from Mill Hill East or various stations on the High Barnet branch past West Finchley

Similarly the end of the Piccadilly Line is surprisingly nice too, I can't remember how much you can see from the train but after Oakwood it's all open on one side of the train, with Trent Park and the green belt
 

PeterC

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The Chesham branch seems even stranger when you suddenly see a tube train from the other side of the Chess valley, just appearing above a hedgerow for a minute or two then vanishing in the next fold in the hills.
 

si404

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Chorleywood to Chesham is very nice, either straight along the River Chess or diverting a bit into the hills
Chess Valley walk starts at Rickmansworth, but I'd agree with using Chorleywood as a starting point as you get the views across the valley as Chorleywood station is at the top of it (actually outside it - the ridge is the A404), rather than at the bottom of it like Rickmansworth.
 

ChrisC

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Chorleywood to Chesham is very nice, either straight along the River Chess or diverting a bit into the hills
When staying in London a couple of summers ago I travelled out to Chesham and intended to walk back to Chorleywood. I didn’t quite make the full distance as it was an extremely hot day. Lovely walk along the hills just to the north of the River Chess as far as the church in the village of Latimer, then I cut the walk short and crossed the river to Chalfont and Latimer Station.
 

Bedpan

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We did Chalfont to Chesham almost exactly 30 years ago, it was a beautiful walk and the countryside was stunning. It's amazing how time files but my wide was pregnant with my daughter who will be 30 in November! A bit off topic but wondering if the same detailed route leaflet as the one we used was still in existance, I Googled it, and it is, on chilternsociety.org.uk . In fact they have free walk leaflets for 130 walks altogether. I'm so glad I looked, so thanks ChiefPlanner, Mikey C and others for putting the idea in my head, just what the doctor ordered for a coronavirus affected summer!

Chalfont to Chesham used to be what I would call the nearest country branch line to London, on the basis that until recently you had to change at Chalfont and take a separate train down the branch which, unlike, say, Grove Park to Bromley North, went through proper open countryside rather than just suburbs.

On a more recent expedition down the District Line to Richmond, the section between Turnham Green and the River Thames was reasonably open, as is Wimbledon Park to Southfields, although by no means rural.
 

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