Despite its name, not every single train on the London Underground actually runs in London. Both the Metropolitan and Central lines run beyond the Greater London boundary into the Home Counties of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex.
It means there are a handful of Tube driver depots and sidings which are outside of the 32 London boroughs. At the start and end of each day when trains and drivers need to get to the lines’ termini stations, some of the trains run in passenger service.
In one example on the Metropolitan line, trains use a secret bit of track called the Croxley North Curve, to get them from Rickmansworth to/from Watford, where trains start/finish their normal journeys to/from Baker Street. As the track is only used by a small number of Tube trains at the extremities of the day, it does not appear on the Tube map.
READ MORE: London Underground: Why the really noisy trains on the Jubilee line sound like a spaceship
(Image: Callum Marius)
Metropolitan line to/from Chesham/Amersham
On Monday to Saturday mornings, there are departures from Rickmansworth, in Hertfordshire (Zone 7) to Chesham/Amersham in Buckinghamshire (Zone 9) at 5.20, 5.30, 5.40, 5.50, 6.00 and 6.48am which avoid London entirely.
There are also 12.23am and 12.52am trains from Chesham to Rickmansworth, which terminate before entering London, as does the 12.40am from Amersham to Rickmansworth.
On Sundays, trains at 7.18am and 7.44am run from Rickmansworth to Amersham.
There are currently no London Underground services which run entirely outside of the M25, although prior to 2010, all off-peak Metropolitan line trains to Chesham started from Chalfont & Latimer, meaning there were Tube services which ran entirely beyond London’s orbital motorway, entirely in Buckinghamshire.
Metropolitan line: to/from Watford
All of these trains use the ‘secret’ Croxley North Curve. The only other time when Tube trains run along this part of track is when engineering works or disruption blocks the line between Moor Park and Harrow.
The trains are:
- 5.16am weekdays Chesham to Watford calling at all stations to Rickmansworth, then Croxley and Watford
- 6.08am weekdays Rickmansworth to Watford calling at Croxley and Watford only
- 12.19am Mondays Watford to Rickmansworth calling at Croxley and Rickmansworth only
- 12.49am Tuesday to Saturdays Watford to Rickmansworth calling at Croxley and Rickmansworth only
(Image: Callum Marius)
Central line: to/from Epping
On the Central line, all of the journeys entirely outside London are between Loughton and Epping in Essex. The trains start empty from or continue empty to sidings to the south of Loughton station, which are visible from passing trains.
Northbound trains leave Loughton at 4.56, 5.11, 5.16, 5.22, 5.32, 5.39 and 6.31am on weekdays, 4.56, 5.13 and 6.42am on Saturdays and 6.36, 6.56, 7.13, 7.20 and 8.21am on Sundays.
Southbound trains leave Epping at 10.53, 11.13, 11.37, 11.50pm, 12.47, 12.57, 1.07, 1.20am on weeknights, 11.03, 11.23, 11.37, 11.50pm, 12.01, 12.47, 12.57, 1.07, 1.20am on Saturday night/Sunday morning and 10.48, 11.04, 11.23, 11.33, 11.43, 11.53pm, 12.03, 12.13 and 12.26 on Sunday night/Monday mornings.
Have you ever travelled on one of these non-London London Underground trains? Tell us in the comments below.
You can read all of MyLondon’s Tube-related news stories, features and trivia pieces on our dedicated page here.