These canny Victorians also pioneered commuter suburbs, by building housing estates on land they owned along the route. The line was first extended north-west to Harrow and later to Verney in Buckinghamshire, more than 50 miles from Baker Street.
And so “Metro-Land” was born, with the railway company’s marketeers promoting the dream of a modern family home in the countryside with a fast railway service to central London - a rustic Eden, remote yet remaining touchable.
This idyll, famously celebrated by Poet Laureate John Betjeman, is still a magnet for property hunters searching for that elusive combination of an affordable home and a manageable commute.
Though the line westward was cut back to Amersham following nationalisation of the Underground in 1933 along with all London regional public transport except for the railways, it goes further into the home counties than any other, reaching Zone 9. Indeed four of the five Tube stations outside the M25 are those at the end of the Metropolitan line - the fifth is Epping in Essex, on the Central line. Amersham to Baker Street takes 44 minutes. Transport for London is undertaking improvements that will boost the capacity of the Metropolitan line by 27 per cent by 2018, enabling trains to carry 9,500 more people per hour at peak times.
Gallery: hot homes along the Metropolitan line
Gallery: hot homes along the Metropolitan line
Our exclusive research by Savills into average property values along the Tube network reveals homes hotspots and pockets of hidden value along the Hammersmith & City line.
> Read our full report on the new homes hotspots here
3/13 Liverpool Street
Average property price: £1,250,833
£1,250,000: a stunning architect-designed loft apartment on the second floor of a former warehouse.
> Search for houses and flats for sale in Liverpool Street
4/13 Wembley Park
Average property price: £327,876
£225,000: a two-bedroom flat at new-build development Waterside Close, next to Wembley Park Tube station.
> Search for flats and houses for sale in Wembley Park
5/13 Finchley Road
Average property price: £894,476
£895,000: a two-bedroom flat at Westfield, a large development with indoor pool, gym, 24-concierge and parking.
> Search for flats and houses for sale in Finchley Road
Average property price: £352,522
£359,950: a deceptively spacious and well-presented three-bedroom detached bungalow in a desirable location in Hillingdon.
> Search for flats and houses for sale in Hillingdon
7/13 Ruislip Manor
Average property price: £329,337
£370, 000: a three-bedroom family home, with garden, close to the area's shops, schools and transport facilities.
> Search for flats and houses for sale in Ruislip Manor
Average property price: £408, 380
£395,000: this recently re-furbished, self-contained ground-floor flat is in a period building just off the picturesque high street.
> Search for flats and houses for sale in Amersham
9/13 Chalfont and Latimer
Average property price: £403, 209
£450,000: a four-bedroom house in a sought-after modern development.
> Search for flats and houses for sale in Chalfont and Latimer
Average property price: £408, 380
£525,000: a two-double bedroom duplex-apartment within a handsome Edwardian building (formerly the Sportsman Hotel).
> Search for flats and houses for sale in Chorleywood
Average property price: £336, 826
£350,000: this substantial duplex-maisonette is situated in the popular Nascot Village area, close to Watford town centre.
> Search for flats and houses for sale in Watford
Average property price: £312,237
£309,950: a three-bedroom first-floor conversion offered with a share of freehold and off street parking.
> Search for flats and houses for sale in Harrow on the Hill
Average property price: £676,267
£540,000: this top-floor one-bedroom flat has a 300 sqft terrace and plenty of light.
> Search for flats and houses for sale in Farringdon
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICES ALONG THE METROPOLITAN LINE
Exclusive research for Homes & Property by Savills
Average property values along the route are fairly uniform - in the £350,000 to £500,000 bracket - beyond Finchley Road station in Zone 2. The exception is Moor Park, a six square mile private residential estate with coveted original Metro-Land houses dating back to the Thirties. Estate agent Robsons has a selection of detached properties priced from £1,195,000. Call 01923 599046. Ashby Lodge and Primrose Court are two new apartment schemes in the Finchley heartland. Large flats in traditionally designed blocks are priced from £975,000. Call Shanly Homes on 01494 683917.
This part of north-west London has plentiful green open space such as Northala Fields, with its boating lakes, hiking trails and giant landscaped mounds created from landfill excavated during the building of the new Wembley Stadium. Close by, housing association Network Living is selling flats at Mandeville Place. Prices from £157,000, with shared-ownership options available. Call 020 8454 7388.
From £224,995 to £509,995: apartments and houses at Abbotswood Park, Watford
Abbotswood Park, a Bellway development handy for Watford station, has new apartments and houses priced from £224,995 to £509,995. Call 0845 676 0257 for further information.
At Harrow-on-the-Hill, the line forks in one direction to Amersham, and in the other to Uxbridge. The Spectrum, a 750-home makeover of Rayners Lane Estate, has flats from £200,000 and houses from £320,000. Call Home Group on 020 8582 2115. Eastcote in Hillingdon borough is considered part of the “Heathrow Quarter”, the west London commercial zone that feeds off the airport, and Eastcote station is 30 minutes from Baker Street.
From £299,995: apartments at low-rise London Square Eastcote in HIllingdon, modelled on a traditional garden square. Call 0333 666 2535
Developers are bringing something fresh to an area characterised by interwar housing. London Square, a developer that uses traditional garden square architecture as a building template, has a scheme of apartments in low-rise blocks surrounding communal gardens 300 yards from the Tube station. Prices at London Square Eastcote start from £299,995. Call 0333 666 2535.
The Crossrail bonus
Hillingdon is one of several Metropolitan line stations built specifically to serve suburban developments. The borough is a big Crossrail winner and new large-scale housing estates in the pipeline include Drayton Garden Village, 775 homes at a former Royal Air Force base, with architecture inspired by the Thirties “garden city” movement.
Gatefold: the first phase of 132 apartments will be unveiled this year. Call Cathedral Group on 020 7939 0800.
Redundant factory sites are also getting a new lease of life. EMI’s historic headquarters is being transformed into The Old Vinyl Factory, a new quarter with 630 homes, fashion boutiques, work studios, bars and cafés, a cinema and a museum. Gatefold, the first phase of 132 apartments, is named after the famous album record sleeves and will be unveiled this year. Call Cathedral Group on 020 7939 0800.
At Beaufort Green, Uxbridge, two-bedroom apartments at an erstwhile Ministry of Defence estate cost from £274,950, while four-bedroom houses start at £385,000. Call Annington on 01895 254922.
A zone for all budgets
Back in Zone 1, Aldgate and King’s Cross stand out as cheaper districts that have yet to reach their full potential, but which are motoring ahead on the back of inspired regeneration.
Altitude, a 27-storey tower at Aldgate, is one several developments collectively bringing hundreds of new homes to this City-fringe district. Penthouses have been released, at prices from £1,935,000. Call Barratt on 0844 811 4334.
From £3 million: lateral flats and mews houses created from refurbished Nash homes in Park Crescent near Regent’s Park. Call 020 7861 5499
Homes around Great Portland Street station are the most expensive on the Metropolitan line, due mainly to the grand Nash terraces by Regent’s Park. At Park Crescent, listed stucco-fronted Georgian properties are being refurbished into large lateral apartments and mews houses. Residents will be able to make use of a private tunnel providing a quick route under traffic-clogged Marylebone Road to Park Square West bordering Regent’s Park. Prices from £3 million. Call Amazon Property on 020 7861 5499.