Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A view from the bridge

Sometimes, like last night, the Piccadilly train moving westbound out of South Harrow stops on the long embankment leading into Rayners Lane. This is where the Metropolitan line joins and there is often congestion at the station with trains queuing on both tracks. At such times one has the chance to admire what must be one of the most spectacular views available from any Underground line (obviously in this context "Underground" means a train operated by London Underground, notwithstanding that most of them run overground for much of the time).
South Harrow station is not particularly high, perched as it is on the lower slopes of Harrow Hill, but the line at this point is high above the street and the land slopes downward to Rayners Lane quite sharply. To the south and west the plains of Middlesex extend into a green-fringed horizon that speaks of the open fields of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire (mmm, quite poetic this bit). Behind us the spire of the church atop Harrow Hill and the many Victorian buildings of the school. The view appears to run for many miles - there are no hills in the way - and one ought to be able to see Windsor Castle (which you certainly can from the top of Harrow Hill).

On a fine summer evening with the sun flaring over the Thames Valley this really is quite a view, alas taken utterly for granted by my fellow passengers (and, let's face it, me on most nights). It would be even nicer if the trains did not stop so regularly awaiting a green light to proceed down the track.

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