In northwest London lies a tube station that sits almost entirely inside a private housing estate. The tube station, Moor Park on the Metropolitan line sits between a private golf course on one side and a large private housing estate on the other.

Baring a tiny gap, the entire tube station is surrounded by private owners, and you can just about, use a footpath to get to the station from the southwest side that runs along the side of the golf course without entering the private estate.

The Moor Park estate owes its name to the nearby Moor Park country house, which was designed around 1720 and is now owned by the Moor Park Golf Club. The private housing estate though started to be developed by Lord Leverhulme, who owned the land around here in the 1920s and 1930s, with the roads laid out and plots for large houses sold off individually to homeowners.

The firm carrying out the development went into voluntary liquidation in 1957 and the current owners, a newly formed management company, Moor Park (1958) Ltd was set up to continue the development and look after the estate.

To this day, they still own the roads and the few pavements in the estate and manage the area. The management company is also responsible for enforcing certain restrictive covenants. A ban on subdividing the housing plots means that there are just over 500 houses in the estate, and while each house is privately owned, planning permissions for redevelopment have to be approved both by the local company as well as the local council.

Unusually, the homeowners are also expected to look after the pavement/verge in front of their homes and can do so to their own preferences, which means a pavement can switch between gravel, bricks and rough stone in short order as you walk along it.

The estate has an air of exclusivity, and a mix of houses from 1930s modernist to faux-Tudor and I saw one very modern looking house on a short walk through a couple of roads to and from the tube station.

Apart from the small row of shops, there’s no commercial activity in the estate at all. An attempt by Tesco to put up some small signs inside the car park for a click-and-collect facility next to the tube station in 2014 was refused following a huge number of complaints from the local residents. It seems that even a few signs inside a car park was too much for them.

There are permissive rights to use the private roads to get to the shops and the tube station, but there’s no legal right of way along them.

However, there are two roads that run through the estate that are public, and they give road access to the tube station, and that’s along Astons Road and Main Avenue. So if you were to visit the estate by any other route, there are large signs saying that it’s a private road, but the entrance to Astons Road simply notes that this is Moor Park and please drive carefully.

Someone who regularly drives down the road though is a small unmarked minibus. Not far from the station is the Northwood Headquarters, the home to the UK’s primary military command, which is also unsurprisingly a very private estate, and if you were to have permission to visit, you can catch their private shuttle bus that runs between Moor Park station and the military base.

For everyone else, stick to the footpath, or the only public road in the estate.

The tube station itself, Moor Park, was opened in May 1910 as a small halt called Sandy Lodge, for the next-door golf course, and was renamed Moor Park & Sandy Lodge Station in October 1923, and dropped the Sandy Lodge in September 1950, becoming simple Moor Park station. The small halt was built with a couple of wooden platforms and a small footbridge but was replaced with the current station in 1961 when it gained four platforms, and two entrances linked by a new underpass.

Apparently, the old station was so shabby by the time it was replaced that the platforms needed to be emptied of passengers if a fast steam train raced past the station as the platform would shake alarmingly.

If four platforms seems a lot, it’s a station that was shared with British Rail, although they stopped calling there in 1993, and today if national rail trains were to call there, it would be Chiltern Railways offering the service.

The two extra platforms are still in use though, as fast trains Metropolitan line trains between Rickmansworth and Harrow-on-the-Hill call there in the peak hours. It’s odd that it would get a special peak hours service, as it’s the 31st quietest station on the TfL network so would hardly seem to merit such special attention.

That’s the potted history of a tube station few visit, and fewer can because it’s inside a private estate.

Yes, Canary Wharf is also a private estate.

Yes, I call them tube stations because that’s what most people call them.

One of the entrances to the private estate

Lots of warning signs and CCTV

Entrance to the public road through the estate

The shops next to the tube station

Moor park station – estate side entrance

Moor park station – golf course side entrance

Underpass the middle railings allow access under the railway on the left side without going through a ticket barrier.

A very quiet station with four platforms.

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13 comments
  1. Sachin says:

    As an old boy of nearby Merchant Taylors’ School, who would commute up from North Harrow, I would hazard a guess that the school-run is one reason for the peak-hours fast train service. Likewise in the other direction, a healthy proportion of Moor Park dwellers would be commuting into town, disproportionately more than the surrounding stations that don’t benefit from the fast train.

  2. Adrian Betham says:

    An importance of Moor Park is being the last station before the line divides to Watford and to Amersham. In my day using the line it allowed interchange between the stopping trains to Watford and the fasts non-stop in those days from Finchley Road going on to Rickmansworth and Amersham.

  3. John Brolly says:

    Important to add that passengers frequently user the platforms as an interchange. E.g. coming off the Watford service which is more frequent and waiting for a Chesham and Amersham service. These passengers won’t be counted in the usage figures as they don’t touch in and out at Moor Park.

  4. John Leeming says:

    For many years nearly all the Amersham Metropolitan trains were ‘fast’ between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Moor Park. Now the Amersham and Chesham trains stop at all intermediate stations. Chiltern line trains are now non-stop between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Rickmansworth. They ceased to call at Moor Park after new stock was introduced some 30 years ago. The reason given was that the platforms at Moor Park were too short for some of the new train consists. It’s shame, because Watford passengers no longer have the option to change to/from a faster service at Moor Park (apart from the occasional peak Metropolitan train).

  5. Dave Churchill says:

    The Chiltern trains don’t stop there because the station lighting is not up to Network Rail standards.

  6. Martin Flarathy says:

    When courting the wife and I used to go to TopRank at Watford, to get home to Chesham and Aylesbury we would ge a taxi to Moor Park and get last BR Service for her to connect at Little Chalfont for Chesham and me to continue to Aylesbury…..1968/9

  7. Brian Bell says:

    When I used to organise rail replacement buses to Moor Park about 10 years ago, we had to display permission from Moor Park (1958) Ltd in the windscreen, despite only using the roads you list as public. It does not seem to be a requirement these days. Also very occasionally the Chiltern Turbos have called at Moor Park when Met line has been disrupted, although not been aware of it happening for some years.

  8. Pip says:

    In 1984 stood crying like a baby as I’d got confused with trains. It was the first day in a new job and I’d been advised my train from Rickmansworth wouldn’t take me to Northwood Hills so got out at Moor Park only for the platform guard to tell me I could have stayed on it. All of a sudden I was 12, on the wrong bus home on first day at secondary school taking an hour and a half to walk home.

  9. AB says:

    I’m not convinced it’s named after the Moor Park Country House. I think the Country House takes its name from the fact that the Manor of the Moor was in this area (remains of it are located nearby).

    • ianVisits says:

      The estate is named after the manor house – what the manor house is named after was not elaborated.

  10. Beverly says:

    The London Loop walk goes through the estate, which is when I got to admire the lovely houses.

  11. Liam says:

    I remember watching ‘Metroland’ and seeing John Betchman presenting from various places along the Metropolitan Line. But also an interview somewhere with the Production Assistant who was tasked with picking him up at Moor Park. Apparently Mr Betchman could be very ‘prickly’ with staff on a bad day. Anyway, he waited for ages on the wrong side of Moor Park Station, whilst Mr Betchman waited at the other after arriving by train for filming.

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