Is This London's Loneliest Train?

Geoff Marshall
By Geoff Marshall Last edited 22 months ago
Is This London's Loneliest Train?

There's a 'ghost train' service running in and out of London Paddington. It is rarely advertised and attracts few riders. It runs to and from West Ruislip, once a day, on weekdays only.

This 'parliamentary' train is a little-known service kept open only to stop the lengthy process of shutting the line down completely due to lack of use. This means that if you ever have a need to get between Paddington and Ruislip at somepoint mid-morning, there is a train service that just might be suited to you.

We took a ride on it, to see what happens.

Last Updated 11 August 2016

David W

That looks like one for me...


Awesome! As well as the parliamentary requirement... I think Chiltern also run this to keep drivers familiar with the route, so that they can divert trains to Paddington if ever there are issues with Marylebone.

James Guppy

This should surely become a magnet for a weekly flashmob of people dressed in bizarre costumes - would confuse the hell out of the railway officials.

Gordon Square

Is 'parliamentary' the reason for the once a day (morning) train from Barking to Willesden, by passing Gospel Oak? (Although the service is rammed full of folk). No similar service in the opposite direction however.

Hobart Calling

Screw the National Gallery, this is another 'must do' experience for my trip to London next year...thank you Geoff.


There's also a Chiltern Stratford-Oxford, but also worth noting that this link is also used to divert trains between Euston & Coventry - if it was restorerd to the previous 100(+?)mph standards then WCML could be closed more readily for work taking place, and Paddington could be used as a diversion for Euston services - remember of course that until the line to Euston was electrified that the premier expresses to Birmingham used this route but an artificially engineered 'boost' was given to the electric services (making them look especially impressive for boosting passenger numbers) by radical reduction of the services on the high speed GW/GC joint line route.

Currently diverting via Banbury vice Milton Keynes adds 46 minutes to a 1 hour journey!

michael theobald

See the whole journey Paddington to Birminham in 1961done in 4 minutes at the NRM York...!

Andrew Stuart

I'm a signalman, and I actually signal this train through the Greenford area.

Dave K

Another random nugget of info - thanks Geoff. I see I'm not the only one to mouth the announcements...

Laurence Payne

"Parliamentary Train" originally meant a cheap service affordable by the working man that railway companies were obliged to provide. The type of housing in a particular suburban area often correlates wuth the extent of the "parliamentary" service. For instance, to the east of London, cheap fares originally extended to Leytonstone, were later extended to Ilford and Goodmayes. The mass housing stock of these areas clearly reflects the respective dates.

Sadie B

It's pretty much a driver trainer, there are a few like that that run empty or odd journeys (Drivers have to pass over each section of track every so often or their 'knowledge' expires and they have to resit the route exams) - if there's engineering work at weekends then it's common for Chiltern to run into Paddington.

There are a couple of late night services on SWT that use the district line between Putney and Wimbledon for the same reason - they may not be in public service these days - a few years ago it came in handy when Earlsfield was shut

Whovian Marvel Tube Life

Strange line. I might be going on that soon.


Have tried tp go on it before then got lost at Paddington been on the line to Oxford with reversal at Banbury when reading was shut in April still want to do that train


Tried it today, it was good fun: like a country branch line somehow lost in W London. I suggest we adopt it. Regular meetup? #RuislipFlyer, anyone?

Daniel Abbott

That's an idea... will do it!


I think we doubled usage last Monday, there were at least four passengers. The guard mentioned Londonist!
Cyclists please note: there is a hidden cycle route from W Ruislip across the golf course to Eastcote, where the Great Barn offers much tea and cake. Turn right outside the station, cross the bypass (carefully!) by the petrol station.


Looks like the 1136 will be a little busier from now on!

sue gornall

Can you ride the train back into Paddington on the return journey? As I live near to West Ruislip this direction suits me better.


I once took this train when it went from Paddington to Wycombe. Before we left Paddington, a Ticket Inspector approached me to ask if I was sure I was on the correct train, as I was the only passenger. We had a nice long conversation about the operation of it.

Tony levene

Today it went via main line to West Ealing, branch line to Greenford and then single track to Northolt Junction


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