Jan 17 2013 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
THE London underground, its trains, characters and artwork are known throughout the world and have been celebrated over the last week.
For people who live in the greater London area the service is vital, though sometimes frustrating, but it helped connect the villages of Middlesex, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire to the city of which they then became a part of.
On January 9, 1863, the first Metropolitan train set off from Paddington to Farringdon Street and it was extended out of Baker Street into north west London in the 1870s.
It first went to St John’s Wood and then reached Willesden Green in 1879, and Harrow in 1880, with the suburban area served by the Metropolitan train later becoming known as Metroland.
Local historian Philip Grant said: “A depot at Neasden was opened to cope with increased demand around this time and the Metropolitan Railway Works site employed hundreds of people, who lived in a purpose-built village with their families.
“The trains which took part in the 150th anniversary celebrations, the Metropolitan Locomotive No.1 from 1898 and Metropolitan Railway Carriage No.353, from 1892, would have been built at the Neasden Works.”
In addition to the depot a power station was built in Neasden to service the new electric trains from 1905 and stayed in operation until the 1960s.
Mr Grant continued: “The Metropolitan Railway’s last new venture was a branch line from Wembley Park to Stanmore, which opened in December 1932, sparking the growth of Kingsbury and Queensbury in the 1930s.
“In 1933, the Metropolitan Railway became part of the London Passenger Transport Board system, the birth of the modern London Underground, and its former railways became parts of the Metropolitan Line.”
The Stanmore branch was transferred to the Bakerloo line in 1939 and then became part of the Jubilee line in 1979.
Over in Pinner, the trains arrived in 1885, but change was slow and it was not until the period between the First and Second World Wars that there was a real increase in population.
Pat Clarke of the Pinner Local History Society explained: “The line was extended from Harrow to Pinner and other stations, such as West Harrow and North Harrow came later.
“It then went to Northwood a few years later. It did bring change to the area but it was a little bit slow burning.
“There were many roads that weren’t here when they built the railway, as it was fields and still very much a village.”
The station in Hatch End was opened in 1842 and was part of the mainline service from Birmingham to London and now serves the London Overground between Watford and London Euston.
The stations and lines have seen many changes over the years but they are still an integral part to daily life in the boroughs.
The reconstructed steam engine will pass through central London on Sunday, January 20.
For more information go to www.ltmuseum.co.uk.