Visit London's Most Obscure Ghost Station

By M@ Last edited 32 months ago
Visit London's Most Obscure Ghost Station

You can't catch a train from Haste Hill station. They won't even stop here, unless you have a quiet word with the driver. It is, as far as we know, London's only rail request stop, and probably the least-used station in the capital.

Haste Hill is the middle station in the three-stop Ruislip Lido railway (the others are Woody Bay and Willow Lawn, formerly Ruislip Lido), out near the limits of west London. This wonderful little line loops around the top of the lake, transporting hundreds of passengers a day (at weekends) between a car park and a sandy beach. It is the longest 12-inch gauge railway in the country, and (surely) the only train in London with a carriage just for buggies.

The request stop of Haste Hill is very rarely used, to the point where we might almost call it a ghost station. The platform is moss-covered and in need of a weeding. Those few who do alight here will find trails leading off into Ruislip Woods, but little else. A genuine ghost station — London's most obscure — can be glimpsed a little before Haste Hill (when heading anticlockwise). Eleanor's Loop served as the railway's terminus during the 1980s before extension to Haste Hill and eventually Willow Lawn.

The line celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2016. It opened in 1946 at the same time as the beach — an improbable tourist attraction based on a former reservoir. Even more bizarre, the lake was used to film the lifeboat scenes for the stirring 1958 Titanic film A Night To Remember.

Where else in London can you sunbathe on a beach, explore ancient woods and get a volunteer train driver to drop you off at an almost disused station?

Ruislip Lido has plenty of parking space, accessed via Reservoir Road. Public transport isn't great here, but you can get the H13 or 331 bus from Ruislip station, or take a 30 minute walk from Northwood Hills station. A more detailed history of the line can be read here.

See also: we made a video, riding the Ruislip Lido Railway.

Last Updated 28 October 2016