#146: West Ruislip 26/07/2022

West Ruislip Station

It’s almost three years since I first visited this station as part of my TfL End Of the Line journey on the 27th of August 2019. Read my first blog from West Ruislip here if you want a reprise.

If you want to discover a little more about this northwest corner of London, on the edge of the Chilterns, then stay with me a little while as I return, courtesy this time of Chiltern Railways, as the station serves a dual purpose in my new End Of The Line quest. First, it’s the furthest I can travel on the Chiltern Railway line out of Marylebone station.

And secondly, as I mentioned in my West Ealing blog, following my visit there on the first of February 2022, there’s also a Parliamentary Train service between the two stations. Some regular readers will already be familiar with this term, but for those who are not, here’s a link to the Wikipedia page that explains it.

The station opened in 1906 as Ruislip & Ickenham by the Great Western Railway and Great Central Railway, providing an alternative route into London via High Wycombe instead of Aylesbury. The Central Line opened in 1948, and by the 1960s, the station had lost its ‘& Ickenham’ status.

Chiltern Railways platforms 3 & 4 are on the left hand side of this photo

Chiltern Railways shares the station with the Central Line’s terminal station with its independent island platforms (1 and 2) on the station’s south side. The two Chiltern Railways platforms (3 and 4) are on the northern side and, although separated from the Central Line platforms, are connected by an overhead footbridge. The station car park is accessed directly from platform 4, although a footpath runs along the side of the railway up to road level by the main ticket hall, providing access when the gated barrier to platform 4 is closed.

I think it’s fair to say that the Chiltern Railway part of the station is pretty quiet during the day. Not entirely abandoned and forgotten, as some commentators would have you believe, as I suspect it is well used during the peak commuting hours. Although the now redundant and boarded signal box on platform 3 cuts a lonely and desolate figure with nothing more than its ornate chimneys to show off its past.

The two platform overseers I met were making the most of their quiet time. In their high-vis uniforms, Jim and Remy were happy to chat as they sat on separate benches on platform 4. Remy told me of his plans to write his own book. On the other hand, Jim was full of smiles that beamed and lit up his face when he grinned. 

It was pretty rewarding spending a few moments in their company, and thank you, gents.

HS2

Back in 2019, I remember with sadness when I walked into the golf range directly opposite the station to be told by the manager that they had, that day, had to compulsorily sell up to HS2. The golf range signs are still up, but alas, there’s no driver of iron to be seen. That’s because the megalith that’s now boring under the Chilterns has deeply rooted itself in the area.

Visible from behind the station footbridge, the tunnelling’s cranes and hoarding now dominate the setting. And onto the road bridge above, you can no longer access the northern side of the footpath to peer over at the works. 

I venture towards Ruislip, and before veering off to follow Clacks Lane to see how close to the HS2 works I can get, I spot the local Gulf garage advertising petrol at £1.829p per litre and diesel at £1.929p per litre. These are signs of the times as the country’s economic meltdown takes a stranglehold on road users. Nevertheless, there is a marginally positive note; when I returned later in the day, the prices had fallen by £0.02p per litre. But here’s a question that puzzles me – why do resellers insist on advertising fuel prices at nine-tenths of a penny?

I follow Clacks Lane for some distance and see that a large swathe of the landscape is cordoned off for archaeological digs. Scouting around as best I could, I couldn’t see any evidence of any digging in either of the two areas. I asked a couple of HS2 employees who were guarding a traffic control point, and the best response I got was, ‘Don’t know, mate, we’re just coal monkeys’. I gather by this, he meant they just did what they were told to do and asked no questions. I have to admit I’d not heard this expression before.

Ruislip Lido

I had it in my head to make my way to Ruislip Lido without realising how far, up a steady incline, it was from the town. Add to the fact that it was midday on one of the summer’s hottest days, and this might not have been my wisest move. Nevertheless, I persevere.

My route from Clacks Lane took me through the residential area of Hill Lane and Sharps Lane before hitting the top of the High Street. I contemplated catching a bus, but their frequency was unclear, so I yomped up Bury Street, passing a footpath sign for the Celandine Route. The footpath is 12 mile long from Pinner to Cowley along the River Pinn.

The Lido was popular with the sound of children in the distance. Not in the water, as swimming was (and remains) prohibited, but simply children being children. And I have no doubt the sound would only grow louder as more families arrived alighting from the H13 bus service every 20 minutes.

The Lido is a 60-acre lake/reservoir described as somewhere to have the fun of the seaside closer to home. A place for a family day out to enjoy woodland walks, a miniature railway, beach and play areas with climbing frames and much more. As I arrived from Reservoir Road, the view was outstanding. The shoreline, albeit a bit low, was smothered with pink flowers amongst the greenery of the surrounding foliage.

Wealdstone Football Club

I ended my day at the other end of Ruislip after a tiring two-mile walk back into town, heading for Wealdstone Football Club. As the crow flies, it’s just under half a kilometre from Ruislip station at the southern end of town in Grosvenor Vale.

The club now plays in the Vanarama National League, and the 2022/23 season was about to kick off on Saturday, the 6th of August, at home to Bromley on a pitch that looked lush and green and a ground ready to welcome its visitors.

On the day of my visit, the club grounds hosted a tournament for local youth teams, whilst Wealdstone FC won 5-1 away at Billericay Town. If you’re interested in the football club’s potted history, read here about how the club evolved from the early days as two teams: The Oaks and Cogswell & Harrison. 

Picture of the Day – Buzzy Bee

The shoreline around the Lido was ablaze with these tall spiky purple flower heads. But more strikingly was the constant hum of the surrounding bumble and honey bees. I was fascinated watching them flitting between the flower heads, collecting as much pollen as they could scavenge, with the wildfowl looking on with disinterest from the reservoir beyond.

This image captures the beauty of both the bee and the colour splash that makes it my stand-out memory of my return to Ruislip.

  • Location: Ruislip Lido
  • Date/Time: Thursday, 26th July 2022, 1:01 PM
  • Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture -f/6.3; Shutter Speed – 1/640; Focal Length – 200mm; Film Speed – ISO400

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