Wembley Park Platform

Wembley Park Platform

Wembley Park Entrance

Wembley Park Entrance

Wembley Park Platform

Wembley Park Platform

 

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Until 1880 the Metropolitan Railway (MR) line out of London only ran as far as Willesden Green. In early 1879 work began to build an extension to Harrow-on-the-Hill, with one additional station at Kingsbury and Neasden. Services to Harrow started on 2 August 1880, extending the MR route (today's Metropolitan line) into Middlesex. At this time Wembley was a sparsely populated rural area which did not merit the construction of a railway station and MR trains passed through without stopping. In his 1973 BBC documentary Metro-land, Sir John Betjeman remarked, "Beyond Neasden there was an unimportant hamlet where for years the Metropolitan didn't bother to stop. Wembley. Slushy fields and grass farms." In 1881 Watkin purchased large tracts of land close to the MR line and began a grand scheme to build an amusement park at Wembley, laid out with boating lakes, a waterfall, ornamental gardens and cricket and football pitches. The centrepiece of this park was to be a soaring metal tower, known as Watkin's Tower; at 1,200 feet (366 m) it was to be taller than the Eiffel Tower and would offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, just 12 minutes from Baker Street station. Wembley Park station was specially constructed to serve these pleasure grounds as a destination for excursion trips on the company's trains. The station opened for the first time on 14 October 1893 and initially operated to serve only Saturday football matches in the park. It opened fully on 12 May 1894.

 

Later in the 1890s, the Great Central Railway's (GCR's) London extension was constructed adjacent to the MR's tracks. The tracks pass under the entrance building but the station has never been served by mainline operators. In 1905 the tracks were electrified and the first electric trains became operational. Between 1913 and 1915, the MR added additional tracks to double the line's capacity. On 10 December 1932, the MR opened a branch line north from Wembley Park to Stanmore. From 1915 the MR began a programme of selling off its surplus land holdings in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Middlesex for suburban housing development. Its Metropolitan Railway Country Estates Limited (MRCE) marketed areas such as Wembley Park under the "Metro-land" brand, promoting modern homes in beautiful countryside with a fast railway service to central London. The MR sold the park land at Wembley when the site was selected to host the 1924 British Empire Exhibition and the grand British Empire Exhibition Stadium constructed for this event was later to become Wembley Stadium, the home ground of the England national football team.

 

The station currently has six London Underground tracks, with the two Jubilee line tracks in the centre flanked in turn by the Slow and Fast Metropolitan line tracks. Fast trains call at the station only during off-peak periods (Northbound during the morning peak and southbound during the evening peak). Both Metropolitan and Jubilee line trains may start or end their service at the station. Jubilee line trains that terminate at Wembley Park reverse via sidings between the running lines to the north of the station. Meanwhile, Metropolitan line trains that terminate at Wembley Park use the fly-under and Neasden depot to reverse. The proposed West London Orbital would call at this station. The underground railway would run between Brent Cross and Surbiton. The railway is still on the proposal stage and is not approved or funded at present. The station has cash machines, Euro cash machines, wi-fi, toilets, lifts, payphones, a waiting room and a bridge, boarding ramps and a car park.

 

Connections: Metropolitan Line. London Buses routes 83, 182, 206, 223, 245 and 297 serve the station.