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The Richmond Line 

There is a lesser-known train line in London which I call the Richmond Line. I think the official name is now “London Overground” or some such. As the current name suggests, unlike most “tubes” which are underground train lines, this one runs mostly over the ground although there are a few tunnels along its route. I call it the Richmond line since it terminates there. It was originally created to link Richmond (which is on the outskirts of London) to London’s central bit. I believe this is what Virginia Woolf would have used when she fled the hectic social life in Bloomsbury for a somewhat quieter (at the time) existence in Richmond.

What I like about this line is that it has a very laid-back rural feel to the whole thing, in spite of the fact that it cuts right across the busy central part of London.  There are plants and trees growing along its tracks, and on and around some of the platforms. Bluebells would be ringing in Spring. Even the pace at which the train runs is slow and unhurried. There is an immediate calm there that surrounds you.

If you look at how the tube lines in London are laid out, apart from the circle line, most of them run vertically through the city and what are there of the lines that go sideways only run in the centre of the city. This means if you need to go horizontally across in the North, you either need to change buses or use the Overground. I use it to go from my place to my singing teacher’s, which is just outside Richmond.

One problem with travelling on this line after dark is that some stations look identical. So, if you haven’t kept up with what station your train just left, you easily lose the track of where you are. We, the passengers, often turn our heads all over the place and try to look outside from the windows to find a station-name, but usually to no avail. What we have to resort to then is asking anyone who just came onboard the train which station they just got on at. 
For some reason, the Richmond line is omitted on the type of fold-out map of London trains that the tourists tend to have. Even if you live in London, you wouldn’t know it exists unless you actually need to use the line. This means that the passengers on this line are spared of the invasions of tourists. The only part of this line that crosses paths with any of the touristy parts is at Kew Gardens where the Richmond Line trains share platforms with the tube. Although the tube trains look unmistakably different to the Richmond Line ones, you wouldn’t know that if you are new to town.  It’s easy to spot tourists on a Richmond train who got on it by mistake: watch them look shocked and confused as the train pulls out of Kew and stays above ground.

Silverlink station

This picture above shows the buildings near my local Richmond Line platform. There is something Mediterranean about this view, particularly how the sky spreads out behind the white building.

falling roof building

Incidentally, depicted here is a block of flats (“apartments” to you if you are more familiar with the American term) that now stands right next to the station. When they built this, it was hailed as a luxurious and exclusive block. Yet a local estate agent told me that, after the flats had already been sold prior to their completion, the builders put the roof (which you can see in this picture) on upside down, and it caved in on the top floor flats when it rained heavily. Oops.

Richmond station

Richmond station now. I like them pillars. They give an air of elegance to the station. Shame that most other stations in London lack grace.


A church near my singing teacher's house.





近所のこの路線の駅のホームに立つと、何故か松任谷由実の、「Take me home」と云う曲を思い出す。枕木沿いに雛菊が咲く描写があるせいかな。リッチモンド線は、ブルーベルが咲くのだが。











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