Finsbury Park Station. Its very name has been known to elicit a shudder from the passengers condemned to use its narrow winding passageways, inadequate (and largely un-weatherproof) ticket offices, and grimy stairwells. That’s a lot of shudders for Finsbury Park is, by some measures, the fourth busiest station outside Zone One. For years, locals and interchanging commuters have been assured that the station would be overhauled, with the introduction of step-free access and other improved facilities. Due to lack of funding, however, these plans have been repeatedly deferred. The best that could be offered was a lick of paint and some new cladding to hide the previous mess of cables during work undertaken in 2010-11. Yet rumours have circulated for some time that a more significant redevelopment of the station could be around the corner, perhaps connected with the wider regeneration of the Finsbury Park area.

On 8 January 2013, TFL’s Projects and Planning Panel finally gave substance to these whispers with the publication of their latest Project Approvals List.

A Potted History

Most London interchange stations are the result of the gradual accruing of new lines over the decades, a process that has rarely resulted in the ideal experience for station users. Finsbury Park is a particularly striking example of this, in part due to that peculiarity of North London geography that led one local branch line to be dubbed ‘The Northern Heights’. The locality of the future station was historically known as Stroud Green (now only applied to the area north of Finsbury Park), long a marshy and disputed borderland between the parishes of Hornsey and Islington. It was crossed by the north-south Stroud Green Road, and, from the 1830s, the Seven Sisters toll-road linking Holloway and Tottenham.

When the Great Northern Railway (the modern East Coast Main Line) was driven though in the late 1840s the navvies dug out a wide cutting through the hills here, complete with the extensive drainage work that opened the area to future development. The Seven Sisters/Stroud Green crossroads, however, lies in a hollow between Highgate and Crouch Hill, and the railway had to be carried over these roads on bridges linked by a high embankment. In 1861, eleven years after the first Great Northern terminus arrived at Maiden Lane, the future Finsbury Park Station that opened atop the embankment was little more than a rural halt. It was named ‘Seven Sisters Road (Holloway)’.

Finsbury Park in 1872

Finsbury Park in 1872 (via Stanford’s 1872 map)

The station was soon surrounded by numerous goods and coal yards, and in 1867 a branch-line to Edgware was created, now the linear Parkland Walk. More significant for the station was the arrival of the Great Northern & City Railway in 1904, which ran in mainline-gauge tunnel from Moorgate to Finsbury Park. Negotiations to link this with the Great Northern failed, and the line ended in underground platforms beneath the embankment. In 1906 the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway connected Finsbury Park to Hammersmith. Prior to the Victoria Line being built the what was by then the Northern City line of the underground was cut back to Drayton Park. The running lines of the Piccadilly Line were rearranged and the station tunnels reused so that when the Victoria Line opened in 1968 there was same-level interchange between the Victoria and Piccadilly Lines. A decade later Moorgate services were reconnected to Finsbury Park via the originally-intended mainline link just south of the station.

The current complex four-level layout of the station was essentially complete by this point in history. The platforms continue to be accessed by long, narrow, and oft-flooded passages from the surrounding roads, on two levels, sometimes running in parallel, replete with difficult junctions and steep stairs to the platforms. These include two narrow spiral shafts between the underground platforms and national rail above, each containing double-helix spiral stairwells. Only one stairwell per shaft remains open, and over the years one of the linking passages has been closed for use as storage. The station complex has four entrances, one small 1970s ticket hall on Wells Terrace, and some National Rail ticket booths on Station Place. The latter received a makeover and a striking roof during 2005-6 to provide some shelter from the rain.

The Future

The difficult geography and consequent labyrinthine complexity of the station have made modernisation of Finsbury Park especially challenging. The narrow entrances result in Finsbury Park being the largest un-gated station in London (though a National Rail gate-line was installed in 2011), and there is no step-free access to either the underground or Network Rail.

The current ticket barriers

The current ticket barriers (photo by Nicobobinus)

In recent years a plan emerged to widen and reclad the Wells Terrace ticket hall, install gate-lines, reopen and extend the unused corridor, and install two lifts to the underground platforms. Funding for this did not materialise, and the plan was mothballed. The 8th January TFL report, however, appears to resurrect these plans in an amended form, with any “outstanding design issues dealt with”. Completion is expected by December 2014, so detailed plans will presumably emerge soon. It is likely that the existing free passage through the station from Seven Sisters Road to Wells Terrace will no longer be possible without an Oystercard or traditional ticket.

The original plans (apologies for image quality)

The original plans (apologies for image quality)

Tantalisingly, the report also refers to a planned Western Ticket Hall linked to the substantial City North redevelopment adjacent to (and partly above) the station.

The City North development

The City North development (via skyscrapercity)

The planning permission granted by the London Borough of Islington in 2010 includes passive provision for a new small ticket hall and a new exit into the development, thereby linking onto Fonthill Road via Goodwin Street. It can be hoped that this will bring some relief to the existing entrances while providing a boost to the down-at-heel streets west of the station. Work is expected to commence in April.

City North floorplan. The provision is in the green box

City North floorplan. We’ve highlighted the provision in the green box

In addition to the new lifts to the underground platforms, step free access is also planned to those of the National Rail lines above as part of the work to re-open a disused platform on the east side of the station (of which more below); it appears that only this new platform will be accessible from the new lift though – a far from ideal solution.

The Future of Services at Finsbury Park

There are currently two separate schemes that will significantly impact services at Finsbury Park by 2018.

First, the segregation of suburban services between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace will allow a near-doubling of the number of trains per hour on the Hertford Loop. These services primarily terminate at Moorgate at peak times and King’s Cross in the late evening and at weekends. The recently-deferred Thameslink franchise consultation raised the possibility of a post-segregation evening and weekend service to Moorgate; this is to be welcomed as it will be a boost to the under-utilised stations at Drayton Park and Essex Road, in addition to providing useful access to the night-life of Shoreditch via Old Street, relieving the Victoria line. The Hertford Loop is sometimes mentioned as a future candidate for acquisition by London Overground, a prospect reinforced by doubts as to the suitability of retaining it within the future Thameslink franchise.

More significantly, the East Coast Mainline will be connected to Thameslink. Work to fit-out the St Pancras tunnels is now underway. While final service patterns are yet to be set in stone, it appears likely that around eight Thameslink trains per hour will stop at Finsbury Park, with most existing Cambridge, Peterborough and Welwyn services funnelling through the core to destinations as yet uncertain in the south. Brighton, Maidstone East, Three Bridges, Caterham, Tattenham Corner, and Horsham are among the names in the mix. The recent reprieve of the Wimbledon loop means that Sutton can be added to this list.

Platforms have already been lengthened to accommodate the twelve-car Thameslink sets by extending over the Stroud Green Road with widened bridges, albeit with little accounting for aesthetics – the unsightly mismatch of platform barriers and passenger shelters makes the high-level station resemble a Jewsons storage yard.

Once again, the piecemeal growth of this awkwardly-situated station, coupled with squeezed budgets, has led to a compromise solution and a suboptimal passenger experience. The presence of the East Coast mainline above means that there are significant (read expensive) engineering difficulties inherent in any substantial plan to holistically redesign Finsbury Park station as a place of open circulation spaces or easy interchange twixt surface and sub-surface services. The planned improvements are certainly welcome (and not before time), but this subterranean hamster-run is likely to remain a cramped and wearying experience for the peak-time commuter for the foreseeable future.

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There are 513 comments on this article
  1. Slugabed says:

    I was always led to believe that the Picc and GN&C termini were separate and adjacent rather than interleaved to allow cross-platform interchange….hence the extensive tunnelling necessary
    to allow cross platform interchange when the Vic was built in the 60s….

  2. Greg Tingey says:

    You have noted, have you not that, Diamond Geezers’ stats disagree totally with the ORR’s – I’d back wherever DG got his figures from, since the ORR don’t rate Stratford anywhere in the “top 10” interchange stations (!!?)

    It should be noted that the LNER & LPTP as part of their redevelopments/New Works Plans proposed a complete rebuild in the mid-1940’s … which never happened, of course.

    If they really, really must have ticket barriers, then can they PLEASE get rid of those at platform level, & put them all at the “perimiter”, since trying to change platforms at FP can be difficult, even if you are wearing an “authorised visitors” badge …..
    Sllght remission of the surface discomfort has appeared recently, with extra shelters, after demolition of much during the ’70s
    Of course there also used to be an extra island on the West side, as well, and closing the now ….

    I have memories of this place, going back to A-4s & A-1’s in blue!
    But it was never welcoming, always very busy.

    they had to re-jig the approches to FP bottom-level, with the famous “step plate junctions”, & you are correct.
    The Picc tunnels/station was on the West side, the GN&CRly one on the East. Now re-arranged as dn/dn/up/up, as you say.

  3. Arkady says:

    Thank you both for the correction re the original platform layout – I did not know that. If that’s the only error in this, my first article here, I’ll be very pleased.

    Thanks to the editors for their kind assistance with the pictures and diagrams.

    A lengthy document outlining the earlier version of the redevelopment plan (as per the pamphlet linked above) can be found here

  4. Arkady says:

    Of course, first among the list of future destinations I should have had ‘Brighton’.

  5. Arkady says:

    The second word of the final para should be ‘again’

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ah dear old Finsbury Park. The bane of those of us who been involved in putting ticket gates on the LU network. I recall taking some expensive consultants from KPMG around the station to explain the ticketing issues that arise because of historical interavailability issues. It would be worse now given Oyster PAYG and multiple tariffs. I think I’ve probably seen and reviewed 5 or 6 different gating plans over the years. The really nasty bits to deal with are Wells Terrace ticket hall, the NR / LU interchange flow and the “T junction” (where the Wells Terrace subway abuts with the subway to the LU platforms). Secondary issues are the subway from Seven Sisters Rd to Wells Terrace and football crowds.

    I will be surprised and pleased if LU can manage to squeeze in ticket gates at Finsbury Park but the prospect of an extra Western ticket hall might just give enough extra space to make things viable. Getting enough capacity into the “T junction” was always the big problem – we looked at trying to open out the area by taking bits out of the subway walls to give width for a gateline. It always got to big numbers because of what is above plus the utterly dire drainage and water ingress that afflicts the place. I’m not sure if Network Rail have done work on their track beds to deal with some of the leaks and ingress.

    I agree with Greg that the FCC ticket gates should go. I remain astonished they have survived as I consider them to be dangerous. I’m amazed there has not been an accident. They also create an internal “OSI” at Finsbury Park meaning people have to touch in or out on validators before or after using the FCC gates. A needless waste of passenger time in my view and certainly not needed if perimeter gating is achieved. You would end up with a repeat of the Stratford Jubilee Line “interchange gateline” with people passing through 2 gatelines to enter or exit between the street and the FCC platforms. This logic does not work with Oyster PAYG so I imagine they will have to be removed. If there is any sense FCC will shift them down to Station Place ticket hall.

    The real solution to Finsbury Park, not unlike Camden Town, is to “drop a bomb” on the place and start again. It is far too small and far too congested with little margin to cope during the peaks or when handling football traffic. While I know it will be massively expensive to rebuild it properly the time will come, as with so many London schemes, when it will not be possible to postpone it any further.

  7. @Arkady,

    I have made the two smaller corrections and reworded the bit about the underground platforms in the light of Greg and Slugabed’s comments. I’ll send you an email.

  8. marko says:

    Does anybody know how the original station concourse operated? Surely there must have been an entrance passage-way connected to it? At present, if the plans are accurate, the way in/out is via two double spiral staircases. Furthermore, Passage-way 3 seems to have always been a mezzanine transfer level providing access to the one station platforms and one of the two stair-cases in each shaft. Where did Passage 2 originally end? Did it ever connect with Passage 1?

    Bringing the concourse back into use – presumably with an entrance passage-way onto Station Place, and possibly one onto Stroud Green Road would provide a lot of extra space for a proper ticket office and gate-line. There’s a lot of space beneath the viaduct there which isn’t really getting used.

  9. Long Branch Mike says:

    Well done Arkady!

    I’m glad the planners had the sense to re-open the unused corridor, Passageway 4 by the looks of it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Shouldn’t Northern & City Railway be Great Northern & City Railway? (And Catterham should be Caterham.)
    [I have now corrected this. PoP]

  11. Greg Tingey says:

    The actual platforms @ FP are adequate, especially with the re-introduction of the most easterly one , that should never have been closed in the first place. It is the corridors & gates that make it a nightmare, so re-opening one & possibly a third would make a huge difference. LIfts needed, of course.
    The barriers are a pain to the FCC staff, as well, since they have to stand around watching them on what is one of the coldest platforms in London; along with Waterloo East, the through ones @ LB now the shard is screwing with the winds, &, of course, pneumonia central – Blackfriars. Last time I was there, one of the FCC ladies, trying to drink a coffee to warm up, managed to pour really hot coffee on to her hand, whilst operating a gate-key. Not good.
    There is worse, of course, the wasteful & (I consider) really dangerous double-line at the east end of Waterloo E.
    Putting gates on the E side isn’t a problem.
    With the refurb, it should be possible to manage the bus station end at the NW corner.
    The real problem is the through passageway running up the W side, which joins the cross-way, as a lot of people use it as a convenient footpath. Shades of Sheffield Midland!

  12. Arkady says:

    @Anonynous 11:39 – thanks, very interesting. I agree that the T-junction is a nightmare. I wonder whether – contrary to the passive provision in the City North plans – the final design will turn the T-junction into a more significant cross junction. The small link currently planned into the Seven Sisters corridor strikes me as inadequate and would probably exacerbate the existing problems.

    I also agree that the best solution would be a ‘Luftwaffe redevelopment’. I suppose the theme of my article was to make just that point, but that with the mainline tracks overhead I’m not sure if that would be possible without absolutely colossal expense.

  13. timbeau says:

    Re the correction to “Northern & City”, the line originally built and operated by the GN&CR company was known in LU days as the “Northern City” branch (no “and”) , although this name is confusingly similar to the “City” branch of the “Northern Line”

  14. Arkady says:

    By the way, if anyone have any information (ideally a link to public documents, but anything will do) on the work currently underway on the St Pancras/ECML diveunder tunnel I would be exceptionally grateful. I can find bugger all, and it’s very frustrating, as the place is crawling with men in hi-vis and yet I can find nothing. NOTHING.

  15. mr_jrt says:

    I suspect all these lovely redevelopment options become much more viable once HS2 opens and traffic north of Birmingham & York can continue to travel to London whilst it happens.

  16. mr_jrt says:

    ….not so great for those south of there or course, but it puts much less pressure on the replacement services during the work.

  17. Paul says:

    Regarding using the station passageways as a shortcut once barriers are in place, it definitely wouldn’t be free using Oyster (PAYG) as you suggest.

    A ‘same station exit’ would occur, and you’d normally be chinged for something – at the very least the minimum PAYG fare available from FP, but it could be more depending on the exact time taken.

  18. Anonymike says:

    Excellent first article Arkady. I shall look forward to seeing more.

    It does seem strange that at the various times that heavy work has been done at FP, that more attention hasn’t been applied to the needs of passengers circulating around the station.

  19. DeepThought says:

    @Arkady – I would love to know what is going on there as well. On my commute through St. Pancras the tunnels have been lit up a lot recently, and until I read your article was wondering why they were wasting the pennies keeping all the lights switched on.

  20. Si says:

    With a bit of luck, Crossrail 2’s Ally Pally branch will remove a great many interchange passengers from Finsbury Park (and passengers going through the station in general).

    And who thought it was a good idea to use the station for the main access to the Emirates?

  21. Arkady says:


    It seems that my next article, if accepted, will focus on the Northern City Line, including the problematic past and hopeful future of Drayton Park Station (or ‘Emirates Drayton Park’ as it might, in one possible future, end up).

  22. Arkady says:


    Yes, I noticed that too. Pretty, aren’t they?

    A heck of a lot has already happened at the ECML end of the diveunder. All the vegetation has been cleared, the adjacent area tarmacked and stacked-high with portacabins, and the diveunder itself has been illuminated and filled with construction vehicles of all kinds. Trying to get a decent view for photos is ridiculously hard, though.

  23. Paul says:

    The planned dates for the remaining stages of the Thameslink ECML connection are as follows:

    ECML 2037 points – Week 01 (Easter 2013)
    ECML 2033 Points – Week 09 (26 May – 31 May 2013)
    MML – Canal Tunnel Junction – Week 10-12 (6 June -16th June 2013)
    ECML Installation of the double Junction – week 25 (15th September 2013)
    ECML/MML Final Commissioning – Week 46 & 50 (2nd Feb & 3rd March 2014)

    So all the physical installation should be complete in 9 months time. The points in the MML have been fitted previously, but were then plain lined to avoid unnecessary wear and tear.

    Source is a Network Change Notice (NC/G1/2012/TLP/008) of 27th July 2012

  24. Greg Tingey says:

    Because, wherever Arse-an-all’s ground is, (it’s moved, remember) it’s always been packed & heaving when they play @ home.
    Just don’t, DON’T EVER go anywhere near the place if they’re playing Spurs, though!
    Yes, there are three stations convenient(ish)
    FP, Gillespie Road (now called “Arsenal”) & Drayton Park – which one can handle big numbers best?
    Also, which one has easiest access from the North?
    And re. FP – you have to go through it to get to either Gillespie Rd or Drayton Pk from the North. Contrarywise, football “supporters” (euw) coming from the South will probably get off at the other two stations – except, of course, that on a Saturday, the service through Drayton Pk may be a little limited?

    Err… correction: “The Emirates” are somewhere ENE of Aden.
    Arsenals footie stadium is SSE of FP, OK?

  25. John Bull says:

    Speaking with my “Arsenal fan” hat on!

    High/Is and Finsbury Park (tube) get the bulk of the Emirates traffic. The NR platforms at Finsbury Park used to be my cheeky way of beating the crowds. Less applicable since the move, as the Emirates obviously dumps 20,000 more people per game on the network than Highbury did, but still true a certain extent.

    These days I live close enough just to walk home, or cut round the crowds and grab a pint in the Swan. Doesn’t take long for High/Is to clear enough to be able to get to the overground platforms.

  26. Littlejohn says:

    @Greg 02:34PM, 13th February 2013: Err… correction: “The Emirates” are somewhere ENE of Aden. When I first went there (July 68 – August 69) they were called the Trucial States. I don’t think that applies to Arsenal v Spurs though.

  27. Arkady says:

    @Paul – Thank you!

    Also, I found the (granted) planning application for the Thameslink depot at Hornsey. The (many, many) diagrams indicate why some tracks are being moved/removed at the moment.

    The Planning Statement is quite interesting:

  28. Arkady says:

    @Greg – you forget Holloway Road, which is also very close and is used heavily (albeit exit only on a match day).

    I need to do my research. But is it not so that Drayton Park is perfectly situated so that the platforms could be placed on either side of the tracks (rather thanthe current island) and broad steps put in place up to the new overpass between Drayton Park Rd and the Emirates? It seems odd to me that this was not Insisted upon during the redevelopment, particularly given that the original plan to spend Arsenal’s money on Holloway Rd station did not happen. It wouldn’t have been much immediate use, but would be a massive relief to Finsbury Park et al once the Northern City has a weekend/evening service.

  29. Jonathan says:

    Does anybody know why the current Victoria and Piccadilly Line southbound (ex Great Northern and City) platforms were built with that silly hump?

  30. Anonymous says:

    @ Paul 1432 – very interesting news that the ECML Thameslink connections are being put into place by 2014. This rather begs the question as to why now? AFAIK through Thameslink services will not start until 2018/9 so it seems a little odd to put the asset in place 4 or 5 years before it will be needed. Unless there are ECS / rusty rail moves over the link it will simply rot over the ensuing 4 year gap. I know possession planning and resourcing has long lead times but this seems extraordinarily early unless it is a defined Control Period 4 deliverable and Network Rail are just fulfilling those obligations regardless of the lack of use issue. Anyone have any insight?

  31. Arkady says:

    @Anonymous 06:19PM – I think I may have the answer to that.

    The document that Paul mentions can be found here:

    It states that “The Thameslink Programme proposes to complete Canal Tunnels works ahead of train service milestones in order to utilise access through a third party development land.”

    Network Rail have a small access road of their own. But the newly tarmacked and portacabin-stacked area next to the diveunder is part of the Triangle Site (, the only part of the King’s Cross Central redevelopment that lies partly in Islington. There is a temporary ‘construction skills centre’ there fronting York Way, but the significant residential plans are yet to come forward. Given the acceleration recently seen in the redevelopment, that is unlikely to last long. Network Rail are taking advantage of the space while they can.

  32. Slugabed says:

    Nobody knows,or so it seems despite my asking lots of people on lots of forums….

  33. Anonymous says:

    Does anybody know if there any timetabled trains around the Canonbury curve, to the south of Finsbury Park ??

  34. James GB says:

    I’ve been to the Emirates as an away fan on three occasions and once managed to get there via Drayton Park, which was extremely convenient for the stadium. I think I was on the penultimate northbound train of the day! Pending any change to evening/weekend running on GN&C line, running a shuttle from Drayton Park to Moorgate would really help to move the crowds after then end of a game. It would make it easier for anyone heading for Liverpool St, Docklands and much of south London. They do have support down here, the (Woolwich) Arsenal.

  35. Arkady says:

    The Canonbury Curve is single track, freight only.

  36. timbeau says:

    “The Canonbury Curve is single track, freight only.”

    I’ve been on a scheduled passenger train on it – to Broad Street in 1976

  37. Anonymous says:

    All scheduled trains on the Canonbury Curve (and elsewhere) will be in the Working Timetables on Network Rail’s website.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Drayton park is well used getting to the ground for midweek games despite the lack of promotion. Changing at moorgate – you do see bemused look from some arsenal fans as half the arsenal fans get off wondering how they are going to get there. as it is not on the tube map a lot of people don’t know that this option exists and saves about 10 mins. Sooner london overground get hold of this line the better.

  39. Sheermarq says:

    I look forward to the article on the hopeful future of Drayton Park!!! Bar a recent lick of paint and new lighting it has a forgotten suburban feel at street level, but narrow hemmed in and unwelcoming at platform level. However even with the proximity to the underground tunnels, there does seem plenty of room to reconfigure the station retaining the current island platform for southbound services and building a new separate northbound platfrom on the land from the old sidings which coupled with a new exit at the northend of the platfroms directly on to the stadium plate would really help with managing demand in the area by allowing it to be used for arsenal matches.

    The thousands of new homes and the monster student tower that arsenal are shoehorning into the area means that the demand for transport in the area is growing anyway and the best thing that could happen to it would be a takeover by London Overground and provision of a weekend and more frequent service. Although not showing the latest building work arsenals development arm have completed of late, the google maps satelite view still gives a good idea of how much space there is.

    Re holloway road – ANOTHER student block was approved in Islington, right on top of the tube station but puzzling that no mention of improvments to the tube station. The station is really rather shallow and the current narrow passageway and lack of lift to platforms should really be supplmented with a secondary exit, not just for football but for the increasing number of people using the station. Seems like a wasted oppotunity to access the land immediately over the platforms as part of the building works

  40. Paul says:

    Anon @ 6:19 pm

    I think irrespective of the start date for the ECML Thameslink passenger service, the new rolling stock will be maintained at Hornsey as soon as it is delivered. This would apply to whatever stock arrives first, either new desiro city stock (class 700) or extra Electrostars in lieu, because no existing depots will have the space.

  41. Ian Sergeant says:

    this subterranean hamster-run is likely to remain a cramped and wearying experience for the peak-time commuter for the foreseeable future.

    Some people, here and elsewhere, have seen the cramped nature of FP underground as a justification for the Ally Pally branch of Crossrail 2. I don’t buy it. Let’s say you run four (rather than the current two) trains to Hertford East. That leaves 20 to Ally Pally or stopping somewhere on the main branch. 20 trains is an adequate tube frequency, but we need an extra section of tunnel and four big expensive new stations – simply so that we can relieve FP? Why not rebuild FP underground? You must be able to do that for the same price, probably considerably less. The Victoria Line will be considerably relieved by CR2, so hopefully an enlarged underground area would allow passengers to wait in comfort for a train which should have space to board.

    Not building the Ally Pally branch gives us the flexibility to take over other routes. Certainly Enfield is a candidate as it will have a nearby 10tph service to the city on the Hertford North Line. Is, as mr_jrt has suggested elsewhere, Chingford another? I don’t know. Hackney Downs has 15 tph peak to Liverpool Street, London Fields 7 tph. Are we seriously suggesting closing Bethnal Green, London Fields and Cambridge Heath? Stopping fast trains there? Stopping all trains at Hackney Downs? There is no obvious solution which may be why we’ve ended up with this strange design. Ideas welcomed.

  42. Whiff says:

    I don’t know the area at all but it does seem a shame that at the very least they can’t run a shuttle on matchdays from Drayton Park to Moorgate along the lines of the one that works well at Old Trafford.

    Also the ever-wonderful Carto Metro show the pre-Victoria Line layout of the Northern City and Piccadilly lines that Slugabed and Greg mention in the first couple of comments.

    Anyway excellent debut article; it’s always good to have new contributors and I look forward to reading more.

  43. Greg Tingey says:

    I stand corrected as to Mid-East geography (stupid of me) however I think, especially when it comes to tribal rivalry & blood on the streets, it’s got a lot with AvsS “games” !!

    Johnathon (& slugabed)
    ALL tube stations have “that silly hump” – for wheelchair access, because some idiot altered the height of tube-train floors, some years back. They are called “Harrington Humps”

    timbeau me too – more than once – it used to be double track, of course.

    There are proposal;s (quite recent, can’t remember where I saw them) to re-open during the weekends, as soon as the “new”S-bound platform @ FP is re-opened, which will make a great deal of difference.

    Ian Sergeant
    I’m assuming by “Ally Pally” for Xr2 they really mean the Palace, not Wood Green GNR station, since the top of Muswell Hill etc is a black hole for decent public transport.
    NOT the Chingford branch for Xr2 – platform length constraints ….unless you want to run Chinford – Greenford 10-cars via Stratford & Xr1.
    MUCH better to take over Leyton/Leytonstone – Epping, with central line retaining Leytonstone – Woodford via Hainault.
    Living in the area, & having done surveys, the Hertford N trains (& even the Broxbourne PiXc’s are the wedged ones, which is why this is being proposed for Xr2, along with 4-track up the valley – quite sensible, actually.
    Oh, & rubbish – I suggest you check tables 20 + 22 of the National timetable, Hackney Downs gets 4 + 2 trains per hour, from Chingford & Hertford respectively ……Where are you manufacturing the extra 9 trains from?

    See my comment about weekend trains, above.

  44. Malcolm says:


    No, it seems quite clear from the maps and things that “Ally Pally” – XR2 does mean the station which is officially known as Alexandra Palace today (even if you and I might call it Wood Green GNR). If they meant Muswell Hill they would have said so. If they meant somewhere in between (like the front of the Palace itself, or the back where Alexandra Palace GNR station used to be, or the shops at Grosvenor Road) then none of these could possibly generate the traffic.

    Muswell Hill/Crouch End is perhaps a slight “transport black hole” relative to its surroundings, inasmuch as it has quite a few shops but no station. But good bus links to Highgate, Turnpoke and Finsbury.

    I tend to agree with Ian above, that the whole idea of XR2 – Ally Pally is a very expensive way of avoiding spending a decent sum of money on making a proper job of sorting out Finsbury Park.

  45. MYG says:

    It’s a shame the northern heights were never electrified as then both Ally Pally and Muswell Hill would still have stations. Ah well…

    @Jonathan I assume you mean the step free train to platform humps greg has mentioned above rather than the humped platform and track in general, which is to help trains slow down when they come into the platform and accelerate more quickly when they leave.

  46. Arkady says:

    @ Whiff – thanks for the kind words.

    @Ian Sergeant – The Crossrail 2 Ally Pally link won’t merely relieve Finsbury Park station, but the (absolutely packed) stretch of the Victoria south of FP. The primary purpose of CR2 is to relieve the Victoria line, after all.

    @Greg – weekend & evening services on the Hertford Loop to Moorgate is, as far as I know, as yet nothing more than a vague possibility raised in the Thameslink consultation. Watch this space for more detail.

    Thameslink. So we seem to have teased out that:
    1) The MML/ECML link will be in place by spring 2014.
    2) The Hornsey depot will be ready by early 2015.
    3) The new trains will begin arriving in 2015, and will use the new link to reach the new depot, three years before passenger services begin. They “will run on both the Thameslink and Great Northern routes” from 2015.


  47. Anonymous says:

    @ Sheermarq 2334 – from your written description of no lifts, long ramp and a shallow station I assume you are referring to Arsenal tube station. Holloway Road tube station does have lifts from the ticket hall to an intermediate landing. There is then a short corridor and stairs down to the Piccadilly Line platforms. The big problem with Holloway Road is that the only way to expand capacity is to put in escalators down to platform level and that is massively expensive. You’d almost certainly have to have a much bigger ticket hall and also put in more lifts from the intermediate level to the platforms to make the station accessible. I wonder where the land for that would come from?

    Despite Arsenal FC giving £ms of Section 106 money it was insufficient to fund the scale of works necessary at Holloway Road. I believe LU has spent the money at Highbury and Islington instead which, at ticket hall level, is now much more spacious with separate entry and exit flows. The problem of the inadequate escalator and lower level corridor capacity remains of course. Given the burgeoning usage of Highbury as a major interchange with the Overground it cannot be too long before radical solutions below ground are needed to cope with the demand.

    @ Arkady / Paul – thanks for the info about why the ECML connection is being done now and will be required in advance of 2018/19.

  48. Arkady says:

    Though there has been some recent progress, time has not been excessively kind to Highbury & Islington station. Fancy feeling really sad? Then look at this:

  49. Slugabed says:

    Greg Tingey at 08:17 14/02
    Dear Greg
    We are not talking about Harrington Humps (I’m not,anyway,Jonathan may have his own views)
    Go to the Vic S/B and stand at the Southernmost end,looking North…
    Tell me there isn’t a hump.
    The tunnel is curved in three dimensions.

    MYG at 09:13 14/02
    You mention the common feature of gradients in order to slow approaching trains and speed departing ones.
    If this were the case at FP,why is the hump in the middle of the platform making it (according to motormen on “another forum”) quite an art to stop,on the mark,a train that has started to re-accelerate?
    All this on a platform built as a terminus….

  50. Anonymous says:

    RE ticket gates, if NR and TfL could put aside their differences and share a gateline, several problems would disappear. It didn’t happen at Blackfriars – the gateline was downstairs at the northern end for a long part of the design phase, and only moved upstairs late on. Try changing platforms at the northern end in a hurry and you’ll be in for a shock when the machine eats your ticket.

    It works at Farringdon just up the line, why can’t it work elsewhere?

    p.s. the Network Change for the Thameslink tunnels dates are old – the Finsbury Park works have forced a postponement.

  51. Arkady says:

    Anonymous 12:32 – please can you elaborate on the postponement? Preparatory work is happening now, well in advance of the ‘Easter’ start date given in the document. How would FP works (and presumably you mean the line segregation work rather than the completed Thameslink platform extension work) affect the Thameslink tunnels work? Do you happen to have a source? Thanks in advance.

  52. Jonathan says:

    MYG09:13AM, 14th February 2013

    RE: ‘@Jonathan I assume you mean the step free train to platform humps greg has mentioned above rather than the humped platform and track in general, which is to help trains slow down when they come into the platform and accelerate more quickly when they leave.’

    I think you might want to visit the afore mentioned southbound platforms to see what I’m on about.

    Nothing quite like it elsewhere on the Underground network.

    Also noting that-:

    They used to be terminating platforms from 1904 until 1964.

    It is not a case of them having been extended. (As per the original Central Line platforms in the late 1930’s encompassing either the 1:60 approach or 1:30 leaving tunnels which were obviously there to assist braking and acceleration respectively.)

    Furthermore the hump at Finsbury Park is centred in the middle of the platform tunnel whereas the original Central Line platforms (prior to lengthening) were broadly level.

  53. Jonathan says:

    Futher to my last post (01:09PM, 14th February 2013)-:

    Also noting that none of the other ex Great Northern and City underground platform tunnels feature this hump – these include the current southbound Victoria Line platform at Highbury and Islington.

    Therefore that rather rules out the assisted braking and acceleration explanation.

  54. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes, the S Vic-line @ FP is the old GN&C platform, but as to the cause of the curvature, I haven’t a clue ….

  55. Alan Griffiths says:

    Arkady 05:19PM, 13th February 2013

    “Drayton Park is perfectly situated so that the platforms could be placed on either side of the tracks (rather than the current island) and broad steps put in place up to the new overpass between Drayton Park Rd and the Emirates”

    If you speak to anyone who has experienced the queue to catch a Brighton train at Falmer station after a Brighton and Hove Albion home game, you’ll get an idea of the crowd safety problems. That space is designed for large and slow crowds, but they can be queuing for an hour.

  56. Adam Bowie says:

    As a regular Arsenal goer, and someone who uses Drayton Park a bit, it’d take some serious re-working of the station to make it safe for match days.

    I think Arsenal has a higher proportion of fans who use public transport than any other team – certainly in the Premier League. And they also tend to arrive “all at the same time” – that is, quite close to kick-off.

    The “unadvertised” Drayton Park copes OK on midweek match days because relatively few people use it. Although you can still find people trying to get off the platform while the next train has arrived in the station. Even opening up a new northbound platform in that area of land to the west of the station wouldn’t necessarily help. The central platform is quite narrow and would get quickly overcrowded.

    If trains were to regularly run to Moorgate at weekends, I can forsee there being no exit from them at Drayton Park simply because of this. You only have to look at the number of people who exit a train from the Hertford loop at the weekend on a matchday and see how Finsbury Park struggles with its more capacious platforms to see this. The proximity of Drayton Park to the Emirates stadium would definitely make it the best choice for most fans, and it’d be much harder to manage as a result.

  57. Arkady says:

    In the case of Drayton Park I would point out that the ‘flyovers’ around the station could almost be designed to accomodate just that sort of queuing, and that punters would still have all the other options if they preferred to disperse.

  58. Si says:

    I should have said “Why did they make Finsbury Park the main station, without getting Emirates/Arsenal to pay for improvements to the station to cope with flows to/from their stadium?”

    CR2 to Ally Pally is about relieving _all_ the lines through Finsbury Park (Thameslink, the highly-congested Piccadilly line and the GN&C as well as the Victoria line) as well as removing interchanging passengers. If you ditch Ally Pally (serving Epping or something) and simply rebuild Finsbury Park, you’d still have the problem of PIXC on the Picc and severe crowding on the NR (short for No Room?) lines that go through the station. Ally Pally is a genius bit of thinking – coming out of left field, makes you go “huh?” at first, but does exactly what they want it to do and does it well.

    But all this Crossrail 2 talk is a sidetrack from my pointing out that the Ally Pally branch should relieve the interchanges at Finsbury Park being reread as ‘Finsbury Park is justification for the Ally Pally branch’ (and even the sole justification for it) and, as far as I can see, mostly to take a swing at the branch (we need a post on CR2 to assuage the confusion – I don’t have time to write one at the moment, or I’d work on one).

  59. Chris says:

    Ian Sergeant @ 01:24AM, 14th February

    The Alexandria Palace Branch isn’t just to relieve FP but the Victoria *and* Piccadilly of the hordes of passengers changing from GN services. Rebuilding FP doesn’t achieve this. As for Hertford East, CR2 would almost certainly take over the stopping services on the WAML, so could justify a much higher tph. Add the possibility of Stansted services and both branches should see a suitable service.

  60. Fandroid says:

    Inspired by this article, I visited FP today. I have been there before, but it was educational to look at the hamster-run with new eyes. How come the NR platforms 1&2 have operational ticket gates with a wide open gap beside them?

    Considering the zillions they spent on the new Arsenal stadium, (with Greg watching I daren’t call it Em*****s) it’s typical that zilch was diverted to improve FP station. The debate here about Holloway Road and Drayton Park illustrates how sadly inadequate are the current provisions for obtaining and actually investing appropriate contributions for infrastructure upgrades related to development.

    Diverting semi-off-topic onto CR2, the wobbly branch route from Angel to Ally Pally seems like the output of a panel that couldn’t be bothered to do any more than many of us LR commenters are frequently accused of – ie drawing lines on maps. Why build two separate big and expensive tunnels running almost parallel across most of N London to separately serve Seven Sisters and Tottenham Hale – stations that are only 1.2km apart? Having solved the SW mainline capacity problem with one sweeping gesture, and potentially connected the other end to Stansted, they seemed to have got out the blindfold to stick the donkey’s tail randomly on any bit of the map they could find.

    Expect some more changes yet!

  61. Anonymous says:

    Si 5.06

    Brilliant post, cuts through the fog.

  62. Paul says:

    Is it described anywhere what is happening to segregate the lines between Alexandra Palace and Finsbury Park. The new ‘up’ platform is in service at Ally Pally and the old one is being (permanently ?) demolished but I can’t envisaged what the final layout will be to effectively segregate the lines. I assume Welwyn trains will still serve Moorgate, but will Hertford line trains still be able to serve Hornsey and Harringay ? Are any further works required on the northbound tracks ?

  63. Arkady says:

    That’s a right can of worms there Paul. I have a vague plan to write about it in the Hertford Loop/Northern City article I’m mentally sketching.

    I’m not able to comment on the details of track & platform layout. But the post-segregation plan will probably have all the Hertford Loop trains (up to 10 tph in the peak) going to Moorgate. About two Welwyn trains will also go to Moorgate, reaching that terminus’s maximum capacity of 12 tph. And an additional four Welwyn trains per hour will go to Thameslink. The total of six tph from Welwyn will stop at Hornsey & Harringay in order to maintain their current service level, as the segregated Hertford Loop trains will not be able to stop there.

  64. Fandroid says:

    The last part of my previous post probably had the Flippancy Dial wound round too far. I accept that the Ally Pally branch of CR2 as London First have envisaged it will cut off transfers to the Piccadilly and Victoria lines at Finsbury Park, so cutting out the real need for a total rebuild, leaving the station as a northern Vauxhall rather than a Clapham Junction.

    However, the published route still looks like a join-the-dots puzzle, and when the real project appraisal guys look at it they will seriously question the need for so much duplicated tunnel. Why does it need to split at Angel? Why does Dalston Junction need another link? If the CR2 branch just served FP it would be very short and still capture Piccadilly & Victoria traffic. The Hackney (Downs) station on the main CR2 line would capture all Wanglia traffic. The branch serving Finsbury Park would have the accidental spin-off of also serving the Emirates Stadium . The Fandroid solution solves all of the problems, and costs less. What more can I say!

  65. Stationless says:

    Regarding the Vic plaform at FP: It occurred to me that the hump might be necessary to acheive the gradients necessary for the line to duck under the Picc and/or GN&R tunnels either side of the station. Carto Metro shows this North of the station, but at the Southern end, only shows the Vic crossing under the GN&CR beyond Drayton Park. Incidentally, “Rails Through The Clay” shows the Vic above the Picc North of FP. Does anyone know the exact layout?

  66. Arkady says:

    In a correction to my article, I have discovered that Network Rail do (or did) intend to achieve step-free access to all of the platforms, rather than just the new one. In 2011 they said:

    “Connecting the new platform at Finsbury Park to the rest of the station will be a new, fully-accessible footbridge with lifts, providing step-free access between the ticket office and all platforms for the first time. Network Rail and First Capital Connect are consulting on the details of the scheme with the local planning authority, which is funded by the government’s Access for All programme. It is anticipated that both the new platform and footbridge will be in use in 2013.”

    I cannot find a planning application for the current or planned works. Perhaps one does not exist due to Network Rail’s permitted development?

  67. Slugabed says:

    Stationless at 4:30pm 15/02
    Don’t forget the history of these platforms….they were built in 1904 as terminal platforms for the GN&C,and then the Picc was opened in 1906 and although adjacent and parallel to one another,the stations were separate and not interleaved.
    When the Victoria Line was built in 1964-8 it took over on Picc and one GN&C platform.The picc retained one of its platforms and took over the other GN&C platform,and tunnels were bored to effect this changeover.
    The platforms themselves only had superficial work done on them and it is fair to say that the “hump” was there from 1904.
    ….But WHY?

  68. timbeau says:

    Stationless/Slugabed – so what we are saying is that not only are all four tunnels laid out side by side, and do not have to thread over and under any others within station limits, but (although construction of the GNP&BR was well underway by the time the GN&CR was finally opened), when the tunnel in question was built there were no other tunnels down there at all.

    The tunnels do interweave now, but only north and south of the statoin, not in it – and this feature only arrived sixty years after the statoin tunnels were built.

  69. Slugabed says:

    Timbeau at 5:54 15/05
    My point is that I do not know if there is any reason why the hump is there.
    All my attempts to find out why have met with surmises and speculations but no definitive answer.
    If tI was told here was a tunnel underneath the GN&C station,which pre-dated its construction and necessitated building the Hump,that would explain everything and I would go to bed tonight happy.
    The station complex is such a rabbit-warren that there may have been a structure there,or perhaps,as the Hackney Brook must pass somewhere near there,there is a culvert which had to be avoided….the point is that I don’t know,and as it’s my local large station and I use it several times a week,I’d be very grateful if someone came up with a definitive answer,and a map or diagram would be nice (they always are!)

  70. Fandroid says:

    So the existing Tube tunnels layout would place no serious obstructions in the way of two CR2 tunnels constructed alongside to the east (option F). That would even allow future extension to Ally Pally if anyone could come up with a sensible justification for it.

  71. Stationless says:

    @Slugabed 05:36: I have that same diagram in my copy of “Rails Through The Clay”, but it conlficts with what is Carto Metro: which is why I was hoping someone could clarify the exact layout. None of my books have any info as to how much (if any) reprofiling of the track bed was done when converting for the Vicc Line. (If only I stll had access the the library at the ICE!)

  72. Stationless says:

    FP seems to have had a long history of overcrowding. Picc extension was a priority for the LPTB back in 1931 as the levels of overcrowding at the bus stops outside had become dangerous. Likewise, the Picc was desperate for relief from overcrowding by the 1960s, one of several reasons LT wanted the proposed Vic line stage 1 to extend out at least that far North.

  73. Slugabed says:

    Stationless at 6:36pm 15/05
    Carto Metro,though excellent,is a “work in progress” and asks (in French) for corrections etc at the foot of its homepage.
    Any conflict between it and Jackson & Croome,I’d tend to favour the latter.
    I may be wrong,but the diagram I reproduced looks very “60s” to me…

  74. Stationless says:

    Some folks here might well remember the FP ticket office of the 70s/80s (which was enclosed), but this earlier shot shows, like now, it was originally open:

  75. Slugabed says:

    Stationless at 6:36pm 15/05
    Sorry for the double post.
    The step-plate junctions were constructed and commissioned around the existing Piccadilly Line tunnels which remained in service during the operation bar a few short closures.The station tunnels were,to all intents and purposes,left as they were…the new tunnels either were part of the Victoria Line linking to the existing tunnels North and South,or were involved in the Piccadilly diversion to enable X-platform interchange.
    I don’t think there was any need for re-profiling except maybe to make the GN&C patforms tube height relative to rail level.
    I stand to be corrected….

  76. Stationless says:

    This (less than ideal) pic gives some idea of the issues at Drayton Park:

    The running lines have to line up with the tunnel portals at the end of the platform. On the left is the wall of the raised Canonbury Curve, on the right there is no longer a train shed, so plenty of room for an additional platform, but the current island would still have to serve the SB line.

  77. Stationless says:

    Slugabed 07:03; Your diagram would look very ’60s, Croombe & Jackson being first published in 1962. [I have the ’93 second ed.] 🙂

  78. Chris says:

    With the greatest respect Fandroid, it’s rather unfair to accuse London First of merely joining up dots on a map and then criticise their work by doing just that – a neat solution on a map doesn’t necessarily translate to what’s actually needed.


  79. timbeau says:

    Slugabed – sorry if I didn’t make it clear that i was trying to amplify your answer to Stationless – like you I would love to know why the GN&C put those humps there. The subterranean platforms were, of course, an afterthought – the original plan had been to connect to the GNR station above. Whether that is relevant I don’t know.

    I would be surprised if there were a culvert that deep, especially for a natural river. How high are the platforms above the level of the Thames, which is presumably where the brook eventually ends up? And to justify a hump there must be two tunnels in the way, otherwise the whole station could just have been built lower or higher rather than, as it would seem, threaded between two at different but very close levels.

    Could it be simply a mistake? They started digging the station tunnel at too shallow a level and had to put a slope in to connect up with the running tunnel? It wouldn’t b ethe first time – Kinghorn Tunnel in Fife is a well-known example of a tunnel which didn’t meet in the middle!

  80. 1956 says:

    On the subject of Drayton Park (and rail transport serving the Emirates). It is slightly annoying that with Drayton Park, Holloway Road and the mainline railway over Holloway Road (which could have a “match-days only” station) – the only open station most match days is Highbury & Islington. Drayton Park does seem an underused asset. I do wonder about re-doubling the Canonbury Curve (perhaps with the tunnel lowered and widened to allow freights – Eurostar /Victorian sewers permitting) – with trains leaving the North London on a newly doubled Graham Road curve and going into Liverpool Street Station.

  81. Graham Feakins says:

    Slugabed, timbeau and others – I don’t know whether this helps with the hump query but

    (a) “In January 1960 an experimental one-mile length of twin tunnels under Finsbury Park was constructed in order to test and decide upon the type of linings and the methods to be used on the construction of the Victoria Line” [Reconstructing London’s Underground – H.G. Follenfant – London Transport – 1974]; and

    (b) “The Great Northern & City Railway has never been updated or reconstructed apart from signal modernisation and the replacement of the original hydraulic lifts, and is peculiar (sic).” “It has 16-ft. internal diameter tunnels mostly lined with iron segments above horixontal axis with brick lining below….It was taken over by the Metropolitan Company in 1913 and became part of the Underground with the formation of the London Passenger Transport Board in 1933. The track was raised through the stations, and is now worked with tube stock, but will be absorbed into the Great Northern Suburban Electrification scheme, a project which was taken into account when planning the Victoria Line on which cross platform interchange is provided at Highbury. One of the original station shields is permanently buried at Moorgate, and is likely to reamin there.” [same source]; and

    (c) “The main alteration to the Piccadilly LIne is at Finsbury Park, where the former Piccadilly Line platforms and those of the Northern City Line are being rearranged to give same-level interchange between the Piccadilly and Victoria Lines. To achieve this, the Piccadilly Line westbound track from Manor House was diverted through a new section of tunnel into the western Northern City Line platform at Finsbury Park, returning to its former route by another new section south of the platform.” [Sixty Years of the Piccadilly – London Transport 1966]

    It is also useful to add that “All in all, station reconstruction involves some of the most complicated and intricate engineering in underground railway reconstruction…. especially when entirely new tube railways are constructed with the interchange arrangements that have had to be provided with existing lines. The substantial character of such works is illustrated by the fact that, for example, on the Victoria Line over 40 per cent. of the all-in cost of the new line occurred at stations”. [Reconstructing London’s Underground – H.G. Follenfant – London Transport – 1974]

    I think we can permit a “silly hump” or two, bearing in mind the greater picture of railway civil engineering.

  82. Greg Tingey says:

    Stationless @ 16.30
    The S-bound Vic line tunnel was originally built by the GN&C Rly, before the GNP&B Rly (Piccadilly line) got there ……
    See also Slugabed @ 17.36 [ WHINGE – can’t something be done to get this system to use 24-hr clock? ]

    Slugabed @ 19.14 is perfectly correct ….

    GF @ 04.46 (ugh!)
    I remember those experimental tunnels – they were actually under the PARK, not the station, & (I think) now form part of the Vic-line running tunnels between FP & 7 Sis ….
    Diagrams – never mind “Rails Through the Clay” .. I have a copy of Howson’s “London’s Underground”, 4th edition of 1967, which shows the tunnel-arrangement at FP in detail
    Re the GN & City, I have a “London Transport Publication” copyright of 1976 BY J Graeme Bruce, called “The Big Tube” – looking forward to the re-introduction of main-gauge stock on the line. [ The Moorgate crash happened in between the time of writing & publication, incidentally ]
    I think we can all agree that the “hump” was there from day one … but WHY?

  83. Slugabed says:

    Timbeau at 10:33 15/02
    Graham Feakins at 4:46am(!!) 16/02
    Thank you for your helpful answers and info…perhaps we will simply never know….I suspect Timbeau’s suggstion that it was simply some type of error might be the answer.
    The experimental test tunnels built for the Vic,mentioned by Graham were built under the Park itself rather than the station bearing its name and were incorporated into the Vic Line proper once construction had got that far.
    Interestingly they are (probably) the origin of a proposition (urban myth?) promulgated by Nigel Pennick in “Tunnels Under London” that the Victoria Line was cobbled together from a mixture of new build (concrete linings) and older tunnels (cast iron),the latter built as part of “Top Secret” works during the Second War (presumably the same works that built a tunnel from Buck House direct to Heathrow??)
    Perhaps a article on Underground urban myths one day?
    ….Just a thought…

  84. Ian Sergeant says:

    @Fandroid (and others)

    A single stop branch to Finsbury Park on Crossrail 2 would indeed solve the issue of Finsbury Park – but we need to look at what the objectives of CR2 are, or what they should be:

    1) Relieve the Victoria Line (tick)
    2) Allow for more fast trains into Waterloo (big tick)
    3) Allow for more fast trains into Liverpool Street (partial tick)
    4) Relieve the Piccadilly Line through central London (tick)
    5) Allow operational flexibility of where trains should run beyond Tottenham Hale (fail)
    6) Create an interchange with the Northern Line (tick)
    7) Create an interchange with the North London Line (tick)
    8) Create an interchange with the East London Line (almost fail)

    Why fail? Because once you start to add branches, we fail on points 1 and 4. It only works if you run a tube line service from Ally Pally. Once you take on Central Line to Epping as Greg suggests, it breaks as it stands.

    I ask myself why the line is still going to Hackney. To me a better route would be to follow the route of the Victoria Line between King’s Cross and Tottenham Hale, possibly skipping Seven Sisters. That satisfies all eight (of at least my) criteria. And I’m no expert, but I suspect the cost is similar if not less. Yes, you probably need to bulldoze Finsbury Park and start again. Yes, you will probably need to widen the Northern Line platforms at KXSP. But that “donkey’s tail”?

  85. Anonymous says:

    1956 @ 1108

    Surely the opportunity should have been taken with the s106 money from Arsenal moving to Ashburton Grove to have the ELL extension to serve Drayton Park as a match day only service or potentially go to Finsbury Park as a terminus rather than Highbury and Islington. It would have to probably go over rather than under NLL due to HS1 and the ventilation shaft by the entrance to the cannonbury curve. However as there is nearly a mile from when the ELL starts to run parallel to the NLL they could have found a way to site the ELL on the northern most tracks to give this as an option without disturbing the NLL frequency. However, as discussed on this site before if the budget is too big or it is too ambitious for dft then it does not happen. Also there are the obvious concerns of space and a nearby resident not wanting to hurt his re-election chances due to the disruption the building of such a change would incur. But if LO had as an option to run trains to solely a renewed Drayton Park with new platforms for LO and/or up to Finsbury Park there would be some relief given to the Victoria Line at less cost and sooner than XR2 which is many years away from even the TWA being issued. They could be ambitious and let LO go further north. With 8 trains terminating at Highbury and Islington TFL could keep their min 4 TPH both their and along the cannonbury curve to wherever they choose and on match days send all 8 to Drayton Park to relieve overcrowding at the other stations. Guess if Arsenal ever wishes to expand or there are any future developments locally they could seek a contribution to such a project. If the drive, ambition and crucially money is there they could find a way for this to work.

  86. DW down under says:

    Graham Feakins @ 04:46AM, 16th February 2013

    (b) …. One of the original station shields is permanently buried at Moorgate, and is likely to reamin there.” [same source]; ….

    I read recently that the shield buried at Moorgate had been installed to commence construction of a short extension south – WW2 interrupted progress and was not resumed after. It is a running tunnel shield.


    DW down under

  87. DW down under says:

    Re: the mid-platform hump in all 4 Pic and Vic platforms @ FP.

    If, as I read it, there is a mid-platform hump in ALL 4 tube platforms – this suggests an obstacle running transversely (roughly E-W) across the site. It is a low lying area, so my suspicions would be directed towards a “sewer” along the lines of the Fleet Sewer. So the place to look would be sources on the history of sewers and drainage in Victorian London.


    DW down under

  88. Greg Tingey says:

    The extension was granted very shortly after the GN&C was under construction…
    And was abandoned in …1909

  89. JamesC says:

    Re anon above

    The ell and canonbury curve have been discussed at length on this site. Whilst it is a lovely plan from an arial photo there are obvious issues. Like you say the CTRL runs under nll, so the only other option would have been a flyover, and then the moving of the nll lines to the southern side of the cutting it currently shares with the ell to h&i. Whilst this could in theory have been done with minila djsruption prior to the ell being build it would require months of blockade now.

    What would have made it even easier would have been to keep the ell as light rail, and not made it part of the overground as any flyover would not needed to have been so massive in its construction. This would have gone against the idea of a circular overground, and also mace te west cryodon etc extensions imposible.

    Anyway we have what we have, and the only real answer to getting the lines to ross now is on the level, which again could be done but would require some impecable timetable plannjng, and probably upgrading the trains to have very high torque motors to allow rapid acceleration (which would affect ride comfort), as well as going over to full automation – something I suspect has never occured on the NR network, and wound require the removal of all freight from the line (which may well be a good think if you use it as a comutter line

  90. Abe says:

    Re the ‘humped’ platforms. One fact that no one has mentioned thus far is that none of the platform tunnels were built by the two companies that used them. All four were built by the Great Northern Railway, as they owned the subsoil rights. Those for the Piccadilly were authorized in the GNR Act 1902, and those of the GN&CR in the GNR No. 2 Act 1902.

    On the Piccadilly (actually the Great Northern & Strand Railway – the merger with the Brompton & Piccadilly occurred in a separate Act, also in 1902), the agreement was that they would ‘rent’ the station from the GNR. The new station and Act were a replacement for the original line between Wood Green and Finsbury Park in the GN&SR Act 1899.

    The GN&CR had an Act of 1893 which gave them running rights into Finsbury Park main-line station. However, in the subsequent falling-out with the GNR, it was found that there was a flaw in the Act: there was no provision for shunting electric trains from the ‘down’ to the ‘up’ platforms. The GN&CR proposed to electrify part of the GNR branch towards High Barnet to allow its trains to reverse (in fact, it sought running powers to High Barnet, Edgware, and Alexandra Palace, in a proposal that foretold part of the New Works Programme). Such powers were not agreed by the GNR, who instead proposed a terminus in tube platforms under the station. The GN&CR expected to retain the powers to use the main-line station as well, and when the GNR refused a court case ensued. The case was heard in December 1900, and resulted in a win for the GNR – who claimed that the link to the high-level station would cost them £1m to construct. After their win (GN&CR had to pay the GNR costs), the next Parliamentary session started in late 1901, and the GNR promoted their two Bills for the tube termini, which became the 1902 Acts. The GN&CR agreed a 999-year lease of their platform tunnels from the GNR, and also forbade all extension further north. I presume that the reason for the GNR building both pairs of platforms is that it gave them more control over preventing northward extension of both lines – recall the lengthy battle to extend the Piccadilly line in the late 1920s.

    I’ve checked a selection of maps and there appear to be no major sewers or underground rivers at the station location, except for a small sewer at the very north end of the platforms. I have therefore discounted the theory that the humps allow the platforms to pass over something else. Under the terms of its 1902 Acts, the GNR also provided the lifts to the tube platforms. One of the advantages of the ‘humped’ platform tunnel is that it reduces the depth of the lift shafts required, and hence the amount of vertical tunnelling. My suspicion is therefore that the platforms were provided with a gradient on entering to assist with deceleration, and to reduce the depth of the lift shafts. The descending gradient to the north allows them to pass beneath the small sewer (which is immediately above the overrun tunnel). The point about difficulties in stopping is wrong – the trains would not start accelerating again until over half their length had passed the mid-point of the hump.

    Unfortunately my set of gradient profiles dates from the late 1920s, and so doesn’t include the GN&CR. The Piccadilly platforms are shown, and these have gradients of 1 in 51 and 1 in 52 at the ends. It seems reasonable to assume that the GN&CR platforms would be similar to this.

    In 1903 the GNR acquired powers (GNR Act 1903) to construct a reversing siding in a tunnel 365 yards long for the GN&CR to the north of Finsbury Park. This was never built, but the plans and sections show that the overrun tunnel descended northwards at 1 in 50, which also tends to support my assumption in the previous paragraph.

    Much of the information here comes from London’s Lost Tube Schemes (Capital Transport, 2005).

  91. DW down under says:

    Greg – may have been WW1 that interrupted progress ….

    Will have to look this one up again.


  92. DW down under says:


    Checked out:

    To quote: “… In November 1901, the Great Northern & City Railway published a notice of its intention to present a private bill to parliament seeking permission for an extension of the company’s tunnels then under construction between Finsbury Park and Moorgate. The bill proposed a short, 270 yd southward, continuation of the line to Lothbury which would become the southern terminus in place of Moorgate Street as originally planned. The bill received Royal Assent on 8 August 1902 as the Great Northern and City Railway Act, 1902.

    The station was to have been entirely below ground with access to the surface by lift and pedestrian subways to the corners of the junction of Lothbury, Gresham Street, Moorgate and Princes Street. One peculiarity of the scheme was that the running tunnels between Moorgate Street and Lothbury stations were to have been shorter than the platform tunnels at the two stations; meaning that the front of a full length train would have arrived at Lothbury before the end had left Moorgate. The line could not be extended any further south due to the proximity of the City & South London Railway’s tunnels under Princes Street. Work began on the Moorgate to Lothbury section but was abandoned almost immediately, with the Greathead tunnelling shield left in place at the end of the southbound tunnel just south of Moorgate station. The line opened to Moorgate on 14th February 1904. ” ….

    and in reporting a site visit: “Returning to the current emergency stairs we made our way down to the Northern City line platforms 9 and 10. Both tunnels extend for about 50 yards beyond the station, these tunnels were part of the incomplete extension to Lothbury, which was abandoned in 1903. The station was the site of the infamous Moorgate train crash in 1975 when a southbound Northern City line train ploughed into the buffers beyond the station killing 46 people and injuring 74.

    We made away along a walkway along one side of the opposite tunnel where, at the end, the Greathead shield was left in place when the extension was abandoned in 1903. The shield is still in situ and is in surprisingly good condition. Just before the shield, a pedestrian bridge crosses the track and enters the Moorgate sub-station which is still in use and was not part of our visit. … ”


    This was at least one of my sources.



  93. Greg Tingey says:

    The works may have been abandoned in 1903, as you say, but they were LEGALLY abandoned – i.e. no requirement to build in 1909 – my source beong the aforementioned “Big Tube” book of 1975/6/
    P.S. Looks like I must remember to but the book on ” London’s Lost Tube Schemes”

  94. Stationless says:

    If anyone has a copy of Mike Horne’s “The Victoria Line” [ISBN: 185414281X], there is a picture on page 33 of the former GN&CR southbound platform tunnel under reconstruction for the Vic and clearly shows the curvature of the tunnel due to the hump.

  95. Fandroid says:

    @Ian Sergeant 16 Feb

    I’m not sure if it was clear, but my idea of a short Crossrail 2 branch to Finsbury Park was as a replacement for the long branch that London First came up with all the way from Angel to Ally Pally via Seven Sisters. (I was aiming the donkey’s tail with the blindfold lifted a bit). The SW-NE main line plus my shorter FP branch would have ticked all the same boxes as the London First proposal. Your idea of following the Victoria line makes a huge amount of sense (perhaps those 1950s/1960s LT planners knew a thing or two!). If the loading diagrams are to be believed, then the far east end of the Central is no longer a priority (although my personal experience suggests that eastwards from Stratford can be extremely crowded). As for Hackney, I just like the idea of a grand Hackney station to bring life to that area and to definitely sort out the connections with NLL and the West Anglia system in a ‘Strategic Interchange’ (now where have I heard that term before?). Finsbury Park deserves a proper rebuild, but I worry that Clapham Junction, Victoria, Euston and Wimbledon between them would suck up every last pound available for decent stations.

  96. DW down under says:

    I noticed in one of the histories of the GN&C at:
    … a photo of the original stock at FP, which clearly shows the “hump.”

    Gravity assisted de/acceleration together with minimising vertical transfer distance seems to be the reason, per Abe @ 10:35AM, 17th February 2013.


    DW down under

  97. JP says:

    If I were doing this I would finish the northern heights plan, sort of.

    1) Have Overground take over moorgate to finsbury park then rebuild finsbury park – east finchley, and transfer the northern, north of east finchley to overground (possible extension to mill hill broadway so thameslink could use as swt use the wimbledon branch) finally put in third rail on the cannonbury curve and a set of points taking it onto ell so that stock could be maintained with rest of ell stock.

    Then would terminate the northern at muswell hill.

    I would rebuild drayton park as part of this plan.

    The advantages are with the line segregated you can put in a much more intensive service easily doubling the frequency of the trains on the moorgate branch. if the underground is a guide.

    you no longer have to run 6 car trains on hertford loop because that’s all the moorgate branch can handle giving you capacity increases there as well.

    The northern line customers north of east finchley get bigger trains so increased capacity there too.

    from a rolling stock position the suburban ecml/thameslink EMUs can all be of 4 car type, whereas the moorgate branch can now be dc only type. making the whole lot easier/cheaper to maintain.

  98. The other Paul says:

    Re: The inevitable comments about the Northern Heights and ELL to Finsbury Park

    This one has been discussed to death hasn’t it?

    I’ve said before, and will say again, that IMO the best chance for a service on the curve between Canonbury and Finsbury Park is to consider the NLL to Stratford rather than the ELL, because it’s on the right side of the alignment, so the necessary flat junction becomes a lot less onerous (or a flyover, if possible, would be a lot smaller). You’d need to compensate by running some ELL trains through Camden Road.

    At the other end, Finsbury Park itself is hopeless for reversing, so reopening through to Highgate makes sense, and is likely to encounter fewer issues (property and local opposition) than the Highgate to Muswell Hill section. Going further from Highgate by converting the Northern (Mill Hill and/or High Barnet) seems like a waste of money; yes if you could share (logistically awkward) or 4-track (probably prohibitive) to Finchley Central and extend from Mill Hill east to Broadway (lots of demolitions or tunnelling needed) but that all just seems very unlikely.

    So this then buys a new route from Stratford to Highgate via Finsbury Park, which could be attractive for docklands-bound commuters from the North, relieving the Northern, the DLR, possibly the Central, plus Bank and London Bridge (tube) stations.
    You could end up with –
    4tph Stratford – Highgate
    4tph Stratford – Richmond (or Clapham)
    4tph ELL – Clapham (or Richmond)
    (and maybe another 4tph ELL – Camden Road or Queens Park or beyond)

  99. DW down under says:

    The other Paul @ 03:02AM, 18th February 2013

    Paul, you didn’t mention the GN&C in your comments.

    Could it be 12 tph FP – Highgate, with 4 continuing to Dalston and beyond, 4 running to Moorgate and 4 through Thameslink? Under those conditions, having the Moorgate trains only six-car or seven-car with SDO would not be such a burden, likewise those running through the NLL five-car, while those running through Thameslink could either be linked to 8-car lines or Northern Heights be fitted out for 12-car trains and/or SDO.

    That would leave 4 tph from the GN inner/mid suburban services running to Moorgate (1/2 hourly on each branch) with the balance split between Thameslink and KX 9/10/11. I’d be promoting 7 car SDO for the GN through trains to Moorgate, 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12 cars for the rest (ie a mix of 3-car, 4-car and 5-car units).

    AND, of course, a pleasant, well drained footpath/linear park would be provided nearby to the tracks up to Highgate – with shady resting places, &c.

    DW down under

  100. Greg Tingey says:

    Tunnelling beyond Moorgate is obviously POSSIBLE – since it was proposed way back when …
    IF one was to extend S from Moorgate, where to, & would one have to extend the station-tunnels (VERY Expensive, but do-able) to 8-car length?
    What’s the CBA figure?
    Advantage would be the usual – NOT terminating in the centre, with increased throughput – up to 24 tph in each direction, not a problem @ that point!

  101. JP says:

    @ The other Paul

    I wasn’t suggesting reusing the cannonbury curve and tying in with either NLL (already at capacity) or ELL (you’d have to cross NLL, which is at capacity, on the flat) I was suggesting it more on the basis that you don’t have to build a new maintenance depot and using it for stock movements which can be done in the middle of the night when the NLL isn’t running. It seems stupid to cart around ac equipment simply for stock movements. so 3rd railing that short section seems cheaper if only infrequently used.

    The problem with your solution using the cannonbury curve is that there isn’t the capacity to run a 12tph service and freight on the NLL.

    @ DW down under

    The point of my original post is that by segregating the moorgate branch you can run a much higher frequency service on it (doubling capacity). plus you only have to run one type of stock (although you could run 2, the first full length and the second 1/2 length for off peak).

    the interchange at FP from network rail would be trivial walking across the platform and the wait would be 2-3 min tops.

    Also SDO might be acceptable at Essex road and Drayton park but not at the other stations.

  102. JP says:

    @ The other Paul

    the Highgate to Muswell Hill section would not be necessary but some kind of turning facility north of Highgate would be required for the northern

    ‘Going further from Highgate by converting the Northern (Mill Hill and/or High Barnet) seems like a waste of money’

    perhaps, the thinking is that you increase the capacity of the northern as people heading to the city and canary wharf from north of highgate probably won’t change trains and people heading to king cross may decide the finsbury park interchange is better.

    The northern no longer runs north of east finchley so sharing the track is unnecessary although all the electrical equipment would have to be changed so expensive yes, but it could be cascaded to battersea extension.

    ‘Mill Hill east to Broadway (lots of demolitions or tunnelling needed)’

    A few demolitions, but tunneling? The point of that would be two fold 1 you may find it faster to travel finchley to mill hill and then transfer to much faster and higher capacity thameslink service, secondly it provides a work around for thameslink during engineering works between mill hill and st pancras.

  103. 1956 says:

    My suggestion of re-using the Canonbury Curve was based on a connection with NLL, not ELL. Realising the NLL capacity constraints lead me to speculate if the Graham Road curve (doubled if poss) could be re-opened to passenger service. This would mean the NLL was only used from Canonbury to just east of Dalston Kingsland. 4tph stopping at Canonbury for NLL/ELL interchange, also stopping at one (or more) of London Fields, Cambridge Heath and Bethnal Green, and termination at Liverpool Street (assuming space could be found to accommodate). Canonbury Curve tunnel to be widened and deepened (again if poss) to allow double track freights to pass – and to be given 3rd rail as well as existing overhead. Anyone have a suggestion of what station north of Finsbury Park would have space to terminate trains? Pre-war some services from Broad Street ran to Gordon Hill – but no idea if exisitng space would still allow this. Happy for any contributors with greater knowledge than I to point out any absurdities in the above suggestions.

  104. mr_jrt says:

    If you’re going all the way to MHB you may as well so all the way to Edgware. Once you breach the M1 it’s just nature reserve all the way to the station.

  105. DW down under says:

    JP @ 09:15AM, 18th February 2013

    Sorry JP, I don’t fully follow your post.

    The one thing I tried to remain mindful of was where the GN Inner/Mid suburbans would go if diverted away from Moorgate. While the GN – MML link will enable 2.5 min headways, only 8 tph can be allocated that way. I don’t know if there would be sufficient spare capacity through the new flat junction at Belle Isle and on to KX 9-10-11. (BTW, the St Pancras Thameslink end of the new link features a burrowing junction from the north-bound track.)

    I agree that cross-platform NR-NR interchanges @ FP are excellent. Anything other than cross-platform, according to the article and comments would be non-trivially painful.

    So while I put up a multiple-origin/multiple-destination model, a simple out-and-back Moorgate-Highgate shuttle would be most reliable, and could be optimally fitted and equipped out for the existing station and platform constraints. Either approach is worthy of consideration.

    Another straw man would be to re-electrify an isolated shuttle to LU 4-rail standard but with +750 – 0v in the existing section and up to the sidings south of Highgate – and LU voltage beyond (I understand that LU aims to up the voltage from +415 -215 to something like +500 – 250). This would involve building new low floor trains compatible with tube platforms to replace the 313s, and raising the rail levels in the GN&C platforms. The new stock would be wider (above platform height) and higher than tube stock, but compatible with Northern Line platforms. Just a thought, is all. The aim would be to meet DDA requirements, enable operations along a shared section of the Northern Line and avoid a potentially difficult rail-rail interchange at Highgate.

    More grist to the LR mill ….

    DW down under

  106. JP says:

    @ Greg Tingey

    Is the central termination the limiting factor (tph) of the Moorgate branch I assumed network rail just refused to invest in signalling.

    I read somewhere possibly this blog that extension south (using existing tunnels) had been made impossible due to crossrail works.

    The problem with extending is that lines south and east of london tend to be up on viaducts so any tunneling has to be quite extensive before things like hayes become a possibility. cannon street maybe but then you have train length mismsatch 10 car one side 6 car the other wouldn’t work in my oppinion. the nearest non-destination old kent road/ bermonsey/ stepney?

  107. DW down under says:

    1956 @ 09:55AM, 18th February 2013

    Some space will become available at Liverpool St after Crossrail begins through services in 5 years.

    I’m not sure that Liverpool St is a suitable destination – after all, we already have a service to the City – at Moorgate. Moorgate and Liverpool St will be connected by the Crossrail station.

    Stratford seems to me to be the best desto for anything routed FP-Dalston. I have some doubts about the traffic volumes for that corridor. With a link at Highbury & Islington between the GN&C and NLL, we do have an interchange where volumes can be monitored.

    I don’t know what H&I is like as an interchange station. Maybe it too could be a candidate for a LR reconnaisance and debrief ….

    DW down under

  108. JP says:

    @ 1956

    even though its just a short section i’m not sure there is the capacity. on the NLL

    The graham road curve is useless, it exists only because Mrs T needed to fob off people trying to get broad street with an alternative (the correct alternative was to run the line into liverpool street train shed creating two or three high level platforms) that would of cost money so they got an unworkable curve in hackney instead.

    The hertford loop last time I was on it had platforms at many of the stations at which a train could be turned, however they had had the track lifted (although in 1 case the overhead electric was still in place).

    @ mr_jrt

    yes possibly I thought that most of the problem around the M1 was buildings built on either side on former railway land I assumed that as most of the non electrified northern heights was lifted in 70s by which time the M1 was built thus there would already exist an appropriate sized hole.

    @ DW down under

    you could bring the whole line back into the underground (s-stock) but then your going to have more compatibility problems with network rail (for those engineering days) plus the same maintenance difficulties you had the last time the metropolitan ran that line.

  109. Littlejohn says:

    DW and Greg. London’s Lost Tubes has several entries dealing with the Lothbury extension. As DW says, the Bill authorizing the extension was granted Royal Assent on 8 August 1902 but the GN&CR was so strapped for cash it couldn’t afford to build it. There would have been 5 lift shafts at Lothbury, each lift capable of taking 70 passengers. In 1907 the previous powers were due to expire and the Bill was revived in slightly amended form. The promoters noted that Moorgate was already overcrowded in the peaks, it had been constructed to enable use as a through line and the company has already underpinned part of the Bank of England in readiness. On 26 July the new Bill received Royal Assent but the company still had no money to build the extension. In 1909 a further Bill was deposited to extend the time available but this was withdrawn in January 1910 and in the same month the Directors of the GN&CR announced that the extension plans had been dropped because of the financial position.

    However, this was not the end of the matter. The Metropolitan bought the GN&CR in 1913 but the line would only have been of value to the Met if it could be extended and joined to the existing network in some way. There seems to have been 2 plans. The first was to construct a connection from just north of Moorgate to the Met running line west of Liverpool Street. This foundered on the opposition of landowners at Finsbury Circus, under which the large diameter tubes would have passed at a low level. The second was to extend the running tunnels via Lothbury to join the eastern end of the Waterloo and City station tunnels at Bank. This would have course have resulted in a line with a mix of 16 ft and 12 ft diameter tunnels with tube trains operating from Waterloo to Finsbury Park but main line size trains only operating as far south as Lothbury. There seems to have been no facility for stopping the large trains from attempting to access the smaller tunnels after Lothbury. Why a 100% tube operation was not planned is not explained but could well be due to the Met’s overwhelming desire to be a ‘proper’ (i.e. Main Line) railway. When the Bill allowing the Met to purchase the GN&CR was finally passed and received Royal Assent on 13 August 1913 it only allowed the Lothbury extension and the Met made the best of a bad job by just running the existing operation.

  110. answer=42 says:

    If I have understood, any extension of the NorthernCity south from Moorgate would have to have new platforms at Moorgate so as to pass under Crossrail. As Greg points out, Old Street and Essex Road would have to be extended. If you are going to do all this, you might as well enlarge the tunnels so that standard size stock (ie not only 313 family) can use them (perhaps not much work needs to be done).

    Where would the tunnels go? How about the west side of the Blackfriars solum which, as London Reconnections has pointed out, can take four tracks for a short distance. Two teminating platforms would be converted to through platforms. Trains from the Elephant would take the route. There would be no physical connection with Thameslink. An intermediate station at St Pauls or Chancery Lane would connect with the Central Line. This solution would solve the problems outlined in the article:

  111. JP says:

    Thanks for info on crossrail In my head it was something more trivial like a ticket office

    I didn’t know the moorgate line was cleared for only 313s, Is that because of loading guage or because they were the only 3 car AC/DC emus. regards Blackfriars the article you linked to seem to suggest that the northern entrance has been so constrained by building that it could not be used without major demolition of adjoining properties.
    So although a better solution than cannon st many of the same problems + much greater distance make it in my opinion just as impractical.

    one of he things that they could do if they went down the cannon st route is head west instead of east to either waterloo east or charing cross depending on capacity. It would create havock on thameslink though. but you wouldn’t have the 12 car to 6 car problem.

    The bizarre question that that has raised is why didn’t they double deck the new thameslink from blackfriars to east of london bridge? Is charing cross at capacity so no point in quading past borough market?

  112. DW down under says:

    JP @ 10:10AM, 18th February 2013

    The peak period timetable for the GN&C is 12tph (ECML RUS). A 5-min interval service for a Highgate-Moorgate peak period shuttle would certainly be something not to be sneezed at.

    The off-peak M-F service (ECML RUS) is 6 tph.

    NR state in the ECML RUS that: “Additional peak inner suburban services to Moorgate cannot be
    accommodated unless signal sections are shortened in the tunnels on the Moorgate branch to deliver four-minute headways.” NR support doing this, even though it will only add 3tph to the peak. That comment also confirms that the existing peak period timetable is at the limit of current capacity.

    Crossrail tunnels (pedestrian, not trains) are to be built across the face of the Lothbury drives, precluding any further extension south unless the new tunnels diverge well to the north of Moorgate, drop deeper and pass alongside the Northern line. In that scenario, a Bank-Monument terminus is likely, at least allowing interchange with the DLR, W&C and District. The only possibly valid extensions otherwise might be to terminate deep below Cannon St, or to swing east and terminate under Fenchurch St/Tower Hill. I must say that a Bakerloo southern extension would come before such works.

    In my “vision” of a dedicated route shuttle, the stock would be the 313s until a 6-car dual voltage replacement is procured, not LU “S” stock which has all been assigned. I envisage the operator to be the Overground, not LU. I also envisage that while the 3rd rail extends to Highgate high level @ 750v DC (increasing from the 650v DC between Moorgate and Drayton Park – source Network Rail ECML RUS), the 25kV link FP – Drayton Park remains to support ECS movements. I also envisage the trains continuing to be maintained at Hornsey, an established centre of excellence for the Class 313 stock.

    I also envisage that the 313s would all go through an overhaul in which series-parallel, parallel and weak field settings become available (as has been done for the Coastway service). This is to enable speeds above 30mph to be operated on DC. I also envisage that at the overhaul, the intermediate cabs are removed, the cars are gangwayed through, and the space released used to create additional wheelchair capacity in line with DDA requirements post-2019, extra seats and peak standing space. And at a life-extension overhaul, I envisage the resistor based traction controls being updated to solid state, either with the existing DC traction motors or fully upgraded to AC drive.

    These measures would obviate the problems you identified.

    Littlejohn @ 11:55AM, 18th February 2013

    Thanks for adding some more interesting history – notably the underpinning of the BoE. I wonder ultimately if any of the tube lines benefitted from that work – the Central perhaps?

    As for interworking with the W&C, I’m sure the good engineers of the Met would have devised something like a trip-cock and a mercury switch (used to protect the Bakerloo, now Jubilee tunnels at Finchley Rd, IIRC) to stop full sized trains and cut power at Lothbury. Indeed, given the topology of the W&C, I’d have expected the limit of working of the full-sized stock to have been Bank.

    It is noteworthy that the GN&C did not design Moorgate as a terminus.

    Cheers m’dears

    DW down under

  113. Jordan D says:

    At the risk of turning this back to Finsbury Park and the associated works there – I assume we will see a new Platform 0 at the station (the Up Slow 2)?

    What bothers me is that whilst Hertford North seems to talk of extra services, those of us on the WGC Inner Surburbans (i.e. New Southgate, Oakleigh Park, New Barnet, Hadley Wood and onto WGC) don’t have any mention of extra services. All I can tell is that it will be fast services from WGC that are sped through North London and then onto the Thameslink Canal Tunnels … or have I got that wrong and that we will see more services on the slow lines through to WGC?

  114. DW down under says:

    JP – the 313 is the only class that has route authorisation for the GN&C. Obviously, the entire family (313, 314, 315, 507, 508) will fit.

    As to whether other classes could fit, that is a gaugeing exercise – but I’d suggest that a look at the PEP family roof profile and overall height and compare to say the 317/8/9/455/56 etc, and more recent offerings 172, 378 etc … might give a clue. Indeed, to look at a photo of a 455 with a 508 TSO you can see that the 508 trailer is wider at the cant rail, but not quite as high overall. It looks boxier.

    I’m not sure, but I suspect that the crown of most other classes is a tad high for the GN&C. The branch did have (whether it still has, perhaps an LR spy can tell us) a contact wire extending all the way from Drayton Park to Moorgate – not energised but there to protect any pan a driver failed to retract.

    If that has now been removed, then the gaugeing profile for the route will have changed. I doubt whether I can suss this out from Tasmania – I’ll have to leave it to some of the locals to dig around.


    DW down under

  115. Arkady says:

    Jordan – I believe there is an imminent Thameslink article touching on that (plus one from me on the consequences of segregation on the Loop and the Northern City) so I won’t say too much. You will have more trains per hour than you do now. You currently get 3tph to Moorgate, with one-two semi-fasts in the peak heading to King’s Cross. Post-segregation&Thameslink there will probably be 2tph to Moorgate plus 4tph 8-car Thameslink stopping at all inner and outer suburban stations. So more trains, with better station coverage but fewer going to Moorgate. Whether the KX sem-fasts will remain after this is, I think, unknown.

  116. timbeau says:

    Looking at how Finsbury Park was modified to accomodate the Victoria Line gave me an idea. To understand it,it might help to think of turning the layout at FP on its side.

    The Northern Line is below the NCL at Moorgate and above the DLR at Bank, with little room to squeeze past each other to connect the two terminating lines together. So why not swap the NCL and Northern Line between Moorgate and Old Street. First you divert the Northern Line into the NCL tunnels above it through and between those two stations Then you can enlarge the old Northern Line tunnels to NCL gauge (or DLR gauge) and connect them up to the NCL at Old Street and the DLR at Bank. The “rollover” of the Northern Line tunnels, at present done south of Moorgate needs to be accomodated in the new layout somehow, possibly in the new connections at Old Street

  117. DW down under says:

    Jordan D @ 04:50PM, 18th February 2013

    If you wade through the ECML RUS:

    … you might find details of the inner suburban concepts for WGC. Certainly it involves cutting out the Letchworth starters running via Potters Bar – restarting them at WGC. There were plans included to cascade 313s back to the GN suburbans. So you can expect peak shoulder trains to run as 6-car (Moorgate) or 8-car (KX 9-10-11).

    The RUS of course is not a timetable plan – that’s for Thameslink to work out. If it’s any comfort, there are branches on the south side limited to 8-car, and these will need balancing routes on the north side. The WGC local may qualify.

    The main beneficiaries of the works FP-AP are supposed to be the LDHS (long-distance high-speed) services.

    Sorry to break the unwelcome news

    DW down under

  118. DW down under says:

    Like it timbeau, but what happens to the Northern Line City Branch when it bumps into that Crossrail pedestrian link tunnel right across the end of the existing GN&C drives south of Moorgate?

    DW down under (which I think could almost describe your concept). 🙂

  119. PhilD says:

    Like the idea Timbeau. But, wouldn’t that prevent the DLR from expanding West past Aldwych to Charing X and maybe Victoria if I understand the current thinking correctly? And as DW rightly points out, the Crossrail pedestrian link effectively stops anything going past the GN&C buffers at Moorgate. Which is a shame, GN&C strikes me as one of the great missed opportunities on the network, would solve a lot of existing problems if you could drive south from Moorgate into various orphaned parts of south-east London. A sort of Thameslink 2 from Hertford North to Elmers End via Dulwich and Catford anyone?

  120. Fandroid says:


    That’s an LR bone that’s been thoroughly chewed over before- not that we should let that stop us dreaming! (and commenting)

  121. Littlejohn says:

    There was a typo in my previous post at 11.55. The bit about the first proposed extension in the 2nd para should say that the large diameter tubes would have passed under Finsbury Circus at a shallow level, not a low level. This is why the landowners there made such a fuss.

  122. DW down under says:

    PhilD. I’m not quite sure what Timbeau wanted to do once he had connected the GN&C up to the DLR. Maybe convert the GN&C from about 122m trains to 96m trains by creating a LLR network up to the Northern Heights. One small problem. DC main line trains can share with Tube stock, especially if one is limited to ECS so no compromise platforms needed. DLR cannot. So he’d have to solve the Depot access issue at Highgate.

    I don’t think such a link for the DLR would be to the exclusion of it extending west – the diverging tunnels would need to be well before Bank and there is the question of how you weave them into the subterranean spaghetti in the Bank area before the City Thameslink/Blackfriars stop and picking up the old CX overrun tunnels just west of Aldwych.

    I agree that the GN&C has been one of the missed opportunities in London. But even back in 1908, the presence of the Northern Line City Branch seemed to limit what the Directors thought they could achieve.

    The platform length constraint ultimately would make the line of little value for through working without a substantial investment in existing stations as well as adding an extension. I’ve suggested Bank-Monument; Cannon St (deep level) via Bank; or Fenchurch St (deep level) via Bank could be suitable termini.

    Of course, if the GN&C and Northern Heights were to form part of a London Light Rail (LLR) network, then that technology’s ability to negotiate sharper curves and steeper gradients than conventional or tube heavy-rail does mean that a link from Old St to new LLR platforms at Moorgate, thence weaving on to Bank could be more readily achieved than any of the other ideas.

    But these ideas tie up 2 new platforms at Finsbury Park – the 2 platforms the RUS identifies as needed to increase line capacity. Hence the multiple-origin multiple-destination model might be the preferred approach because the entire operation remains fully compatible with regular main line stock.


    DW down under

  123. timbeau says:

    I’m not quite sure where the Crossrail pedestrian links will beat Moorgate – right across the end of the buffer stops, or will they leave some of the over-run tunnel? Wherever, the new connection can be made far enough north to avoid them – it just means the DLR tunnel has to be extended a bit further north beneath the Northern Line tunnels before it can break upwards into that. At worst, it would require abandonment of the NCL station tunnels and construction of new DLR ones underneath (instead of enlarging the Northern Line ones as in Plan A – prbably the biggest job anyway). DLR would, in any case, have to dive under Crossrail unless the connection to the Northern Line tunnels can be made south of there, which would in turn require the Northern to take over the Lothbury overun of the NCL almost in its entirety.

  124. DW down under says:

    Timbeau – the Lothbury extension got to 50m out of the 270m total. These are now the GN&C overrun tunnels. I’m not sure what could be achieved in 50m, with the Northern Line City Branch immediately below.

    But what do you hope to achieve? DLR through to … ?


    DW down under

  125. timbeau says:

    DW – there are plenty bof opportunities for a DLR extension once you get to Finsbury Park, but I agree it would have to be a dedicated track. DLR already has its own depots, so need to access Highgate. Hertford Loop is one possibility, although I suspect NR would want to keep the operational flexibility it offers. Highgate High level, and possibly by segregated track to Ally Pally HL and/or Mill Hill East are others. Just providing a connection from the GN (Thameslink) services at Finsbury Park and Victoria Line at H&I into the DLR (for Docklands and SE London) might be enough to justify doing it.

  126. timbeau says:

    DW sorry, we’re crossing posts here, but the closer the Northern Line is to the NCL the easier it is, since what I propose is to divert the northbound Northern Line upwards into the NCL (or extend/divert the southbound NCL downwards into the Northern Line. 50m to drop or climb maybe as little as 8m is obviously too steep for a Tube train (or a DLR) so the connecting tunnels would have to be longer than that – possibly requiring the connection to be north of Moorgate as I suggested in the previous post.

  127. DW down under says:

    timbeau @ 06:26PM, 18th February 2013, wrote:

    “DW – there are plenty bof opportunities for a DLR extension once you get to Finsbury Park, but I agree it would have to be a dedicated track.

    -> That rules out using the newly built/renovated platform

    “DLR already has its own depots, so need to access Highgate. ”

    -> No, but the Northern Line will have an ongoing need. So if the LLR/DLR goes up the Heights, it will need to allow for ECS movements around Highgate High Level. And anyway, for an extension of this scale, secure stabling facilities would be needed to accommodate the additional stock DLR/LLR would need.

    “Hertford Loop is one possibility,”

    -> Sorry, it is W9 cleared for intermodal freight, whereas the main ECML via Welwyn is W8. You could only run trains on this alignment. NR wouldn’t let you have it. Sorry, NOT a possibility.

    ” although I suspect NR would want to keep the operational flexibility it offers.”

    -> More, much more than that. (See the ECML RUS I referred to above)

    “: Highgate High level, and possibly by segregated track to Ally Pally HL and/or Mill Hill East are others.”

    -> AP high level would be of no value except maybe as a stabling area. MHE comes back to the issue around Highgate High Level – of ongoing access for the Northern Line stock to their depot.

    ” Just providing a connection from the GN (Thameslink) services at Finsbury Park and Victoria Line at H&I into the DLR (for Docklands and SE London) might be enough to justify doing it.”

    -> Perhaps – but that does raise its own questions:

    1) How do you configure a terminus at FP, given the descriptions we have had of its limitations as an interchange?

    2) Capacity modelling will still require 12-16 paths per hour into Moorgate to keep KX from clogging up. Remember that the ECML-Thameslink link has an at-grade junction at Belle Isle (ie the ECML end) – and that will limit the total throughput of the slow lines. I think NR still needs the GN&C Moorgate Branch to handle all the trains expected.

    If you sequester the GN&C as a dedicated line, where do these 12-16 trains in the peak hours go? …. maybe re-open two tracks through the tunnels into the 12-car Platform 0? Will that be enough, especially in the afternoon peak? And how do you get say 8-10 tph of Down outer suburbans out of Platform 0 without further congestion of the throat? Maybe using the freight line from around Drayton Park where it dives under the ECML south of FP.

    Hmmm ??

    DW down under

  128. DW down under says:

    Timbeau, we are indeed crossing posts. I understand your idea to swap the running tunnels – but that leaves the Northern Line City Branch stuck at a dead-end at Moorgate – and it’s rather unclear what happens to the Northern Line at Bank.

    Of course, if you mean that new tunnels for the Northern line are built below their current level, rejoining at Bank … well, it’s an idea – not cheap. The ideal I suppose would be for the suggested link to feed the GN & C into a new Bank-Monument terminal station south of the “Spaghetti” maybe with three platforms, double faced for minimum dwell times, rather than link rails into the DLR.

    Hmmm ….

    DW down under

  129. Greg T says:

    Phil D@ 17.45
    The GN&C is a whole long, long list of missed opportunities, I’m afraid.
    Having a constrained terminus @ Moorgate is the bog problem, however, & once Xr1 is built, going South from there gets to be even more of a problem – even more than a Westward extension of the DLR – also needed.

    Remember, that in the post-war “New Works” plan, there were going to be two EXTRA easterly platforms @ FP for the through Northern Line trains, built out over where the current front is located – connecting into flyover to get to Crouch End, etc ….

  130. timbeau says:

    Sorry: couple of confusing typos
    18:19 “will be at Moorgate” (not “will beat”)
    18:26 ” “no need to access Highgate depot” (not “so need”)

    DW 19:08 – not what I had in mind at all: swapping the NCL and Northern Line between Old Street and Moorgate is to put the Northern above the NCL at Moorgate/ At Bank, the Northern Line is above the DLR. What I propose is that the upper tunnel at Moorgate (ex NCL, now Northern Line) connects with the upper one at Bank (Northern Line) , and the lower one at Moorgate (ex Northern Line, now enlarged to DLR size) connects with the lower one at Bank (DLR).
    Whether this can be done between Bank and Moorgate I’m not sure – if not it can be done north of there, but this would increase the length of new tunnelling required. Maybe the cost could be reduced by not providing platforms on the new DLR connection at Moorgate.

    Capacity modelling: Where is all this extra traffic supposed to come from? The new Thameslink connection should be able to take at least as many trains as the existing NCL does, and of double the length, so that shopuld mop up any capacity shortage and then some. And my proposed DLR link would take many of the existing passengers off these trains, even if they now have to change at FP. As for layout at FP – well, the DLR could use the platforms currently used by Moorgate trains, or they may be space for another. to achieve cross platform interchange in both directions, a short stub of the Highgate branch coukld be re-opened, or maybe a flyover closer to FP, making use of the DLR’s better climbing abaility

  131. JP says:

    @ DW down under

    So the signalling does prove to limit the Moorgate branch but not by as much as I’d hoped what that means is that you would have to replace one of the platforms at Moorgate. how much width is there at Moorgate? Could you put in another train tunnel plus platform and turn the one of existing ones into a pedestrian walkway between the tunnels. Without having to knock down the street above.

    And as you’ve stated it would create problems with capacity at KX the only easy solution to which would be totally unpalatable to network rail.
    Namely having thameslink no longer serve the midland mainline and have all midland mainline trains terminate at st pancras which of course means remodelling the platforms. Trimming eurostar back to 4 platforms (why do they need 5 at st p when they only needed 4 at waterloo?)
    and most horrifing of all replacing the shopping centre in the train shed with platforms the horror, the horror.

    otherwise you’ve got to build a new station subterranean at KX or on stilts at st. P both of which would be expensive.

  132. answer=42 says:

    @JP, our earlier discussion

    The Blackfriars article does not deal with restrictions north of the station. However, the following article does:
    This notes that a new building is to be constructed on the site of Snow Hill station. Whether this obstacle would be sufficiently distant from Blackfriars to permit tracks to be taken underground (destination Moorgate) I do not know, but no doubt someone on this forum could work it out.

    What would a Moorgate-Blackfriars link (plus extras previously noted) cost? I would guess £ 3 bn. What would that buy? A 24 tph cross- London link in place of two 12 tph terminii. How would that stack up in cost-benefit terms?

  133. Anonymous says:

    @JP 09:15AM, 18th February 2013

    The problem with your solution using the cannonbury curve is that there isn’t the capacity to run a 12tph service and freight on the NLL.

    If you read it properly you’ll notice that I was only suggesting an 8tph service on the NLL, with the ELL providing the other 4tph (or possibly 8tph) west of H&I.

  134. DW down under says:

    Timbeau – I think you’re still missing the essential point, or maybe I am.

    At Moorgate, the GN&C tunnels WILL NOT be able to be extended because Crossrail will have infrastructure in the direct path of the existing tunnel stubs. So, the Northern Line could NOT get from GN&C platforms @ Moorgate to/from their platforms at Bank.

    At FP, you could NOT use the platforms assigned to the Inner Suburban services for the DLR.

    The RUS looks ahead and models demand. There was already a PIXC situation on inner and outer suburban services on the ECML 4 years ago. Thameslink will take a MAXIMUM of 8 tph through the link (that’s 33% of the traffic of the Thameslink “Core”). It will have an at grade junction at Belle Isle – the effect of which could well limit the number of trains on the slow lines to 20 tph (that’s a guess on my part – the point is: less than 24 tph) or even less. The RUS assumes the existing peak capacity on the GN&C is maintained at 12 tph, but by resignalling could go to 4-minute headways (15tph). If you ADD these 12 back to those trains operating FP-Belle Isle, then remove the 8 tph diverting to Thameslink, you still have 4 tph extra to process @ KX. That’s BEFORE traffic growth is taken into account. Sorry, but NR won’t let you have the GN&C. They would be very happy if you could provide them with a more efficient terminus for the GN&C, capable of reversing 24tph and accommodating 12-car trains.

    To get that, there would need to be two extra tunnels running UNDER the Crossrail tunnels. My guess is that they could be bored alongside the existing Northern line but the Down would need to “roll under” between Bank and Moorgate when leaving the new terminus. There’s no value in doing the swap you described – longer sections of tunnel would need work, and it would highly disruptive to both Northern line and GN&C.

    JP – One possible way that the restrictions of Belle Isle could be resolved and the Thameslink Core possibly increased from 24tph to maybe 28tph would be to have all ex-GN Up trains run via the York Way tunnel with effectively York Way platform re-instated. It would connect with Down trains using the spare tunnels at Gasworks and Copenhagen, and share access with Platform 0. It’s untidy, in the sense that not all southbound Thameslink Trains will run from St Pan Thameslink during the peaks. It does remove the conflicts at Belle Isle, and thus could support a full 24tph capacity into five platforms at KX.

    Answer = 42 … now what was the question – ah, yes: The new building at Snow Hill. The foundations for this were discussed in that excellent series of articles by JB et als on Farringdon and the Widened lines. One particular point was that the foundations of this building would impose severe constraints on re-use of that space for rail purposes. Now your question was about access from Snow Hill to Moorgate. This also was discussed in the comments following the articles above. The east to south chord has been built over very substantially, and while traceable, could not be re-instated because of some modern structures. The curve was apparently very tight leading to restrictions not unlike those at St Mary’s curve, Whitechapel.

    I have the impression you are thinking of the Bedpan platforms at Moorgate, or how do you anticipate linking at the eastern end? To get onto Blackfrairs, you’d need somehow to get round the Thameslink City station box and add extra tracks on the grade between there and Blackfriars. I doubt the logistics of the rather bendy route you have in mind for 12-car trains.

    But all makes for a lively discussion ….

    DW down under

  135. DW down under says:

    Sorry – clarification:

    where I wrote: ” … could support a full 24tph capacity into five platforms at KX.” … I was referring to inner and outer suburbans as distinct from LDHS trains using the other seven platforms.

    also: in responding to Answer =42, I should have mentioned that Crossrail tunnels lie immediately to the south of and parallel with the Circle line, and they too would need somehow to be negotiated.


    DW down under

  136. Greg T says:

    Actually, putting an extra 2 Pf on stilts over the road @ StP would be CHEAP (Relatively speaking).
    And will almost certainly have to be done some time in the next 20 years, anyway, sigh.

    If you can’t go South form Moorgate, because of Xr1, & terminal capacity on the GN&C is the constraint, then err, build (i.e. tunnel( a NEW 3rd Pf @ Moorgate?
    Cost-benefit figure could be interesting, assuming one could then run 30 tph, AND, one would then NOT have to lengthen the station tunnels ( Moorg, Old St, Esx Rd) & Drayton Park, so the total spend would be much lower.
    This also gets around the constraint problem of extra trains on the flat crossover @ Belle Isle, and what pennypinching idiot was responsible for that piece of backward thinking I wonder?

    I’m beginning to think that the whole problem would best be solved by dumping the body into an empty freight wagon close to the just-mentioned junction box site.

  137. Jordan D says:

    Arkady @ 05:06PM, 18th February 2013

    Thanks – I look forward to both of the future articles you mention; not least the article on The Loop. As it is WGC Inner Suburbans are the poor cousin of Hertford North (in the evening ‘shoulder’ our frequent period of service ends nearly an hour earlier that Hertford North, after which they get 3tph, we get 2tph).

    With reference to 8 car trains, that will require the altering of New Barnet (Down Slow) platform as it is limited to a 6 car maximum due to points at either end – it’s the only reason that Hadley Wood gets a semi-fast call in the evening peak on a ex-Kings X departure: the train rostered is an 8 car and so can’t call at New Barnet, so calls at Hadley Wood instead.

    DW down under @ 05:15PM, 18th February 2013

    Well, I hope that we do indeed get a better service after all these works … 6 consecutive Sundays of no trains to get no benefit would be beyond a joke … (that’s the current run of Rail Replacement Buses we have).

  138. answer=42 says:

    @DWdu, Greg T

    The Moorgate barrier: I agree with Greg. The more obvious way to avoid the multiple obstructions to southward extension of the GN&C is to build a new platform pair at Moorgate. Expensive and you would need to build a junction with the existing, working GN&C somewhere between Old Street and Moorgate.

    But Greg, I don’t see how this avoids the need to lengthen Old Street and Essex Road?

    And Greg, while you are at it, how feasible is my idea of having the southern tunnel portal on the west side of the Thameslink solum between Blackfriars and the new obstruction at Snow Hill?

    What would such a route solve? The lack of capacity from North-East and South-West London, e.g. Wimbledon, Elephant+Castle route in general; Chingford, Epping, Hertford North, Hertford East. This issue is also addressed by XRail2 but that project seems to be an incomplete solution.

  139. timbeau says:

    DW –
    The idea is that near Moorgate the existing GN&C tracks (carrying the Northern Line because of the changes at Old Street) descend into (not next to) the existing Northernline tracks. Obviously where this is done depends on This should be done as far south as possible whilst avoiding the Crossrail works, in order to make the best use of what is already there. Ideally the existing GN&C platforms should be used but the vertical switch could be made further north, allowing the Northern Line to use the existing Northern Line platforms. But this would mean diverting the NCL from its enlarged Northern Line tunnels into new tunnel underneath earlier, north or Moorgate. Possibly an economy could be made by passing under Moorgate without a station (in the same way that the DLR’s Bank branch also skips Tower/Fenchurch Street – not ideal but worth considering – especiually if the reconfiguration at Old Street can be made into a cross-platform arrangement.

    The object of all this is simply to avoid the current situation where the dead end NCL is boxed in ahead (by the Circle and Crossrail) and below (by the Northern Line) . Having it at the bottom means it can be extended wherever you like. I suggested connecting to the DLR tunnel simply because it is an easy tie up of two dead end tunnels, – but once the NCL has passed under Crossrail and the Central Line it can go anywhere – join up with the (enlarged) Drain, or cross the river and take over a Southern Region route.

    But is it so impossible to have the DLR operate the Finsbury Park – Moorgate line? The “P” in PIXC stands for passengers, not trains, and the number of passengers using the route would be the same whether they have to change at Finsbury Park to the DLR or stay on a (less frequent) through train. And if Kings Cross/ the Thameslink core really can’t take all the trains feeding in from the north without the NCL siphoning some of them off, they could always terminate at FP (not ideal, but passengers could transfer to the DLR-via-NCL or onto other services to KX and TL (space being available as a reesult of people switching to the DLR-via-NCL) or be diverted into Crossrail 2 when it connects into Ally Pally any decade now.

    If the Hertford Loop is out of the question, what about the slow lines to Welwyn? Given Digswell Viaduct is the factor that limits the number of trains between Ally Pally and Stevenage, having only double track all the way is not a very big limitation if all trains run non-stop over that section, leaving the slow lines for an all-statoin DLR service. It also solves the depot problem as well, as there are carriage sidings at Welwyn

    (There remains the Welwyn North problem, of course, but short of a cable car or complete reconstruction of the viaduct that remains intractable)

    lsowe lines and all NR trains prevents rate prevents If all

  140. timbeau says:

    “….. but once the NCL has passed under Crossrail and the Central Line it can go anywhere – join up with the (enlarged) Drain, or cross the river and take over a Southern Region route”

    …..such as at Blackfriars, as suggested in a parallel post.

    I did toy with the idea of doing a single switchover near Moorgate,but without switching back at Old Street, so as to have Morden – Kennington – Bank – Finsbury Park- GN line (maybe to Ashwell & Morden!) and (e.g). Edgware – Camden Town – Bank – DLR, but this would either require emnlarging he entire Northern Line to main line (or DLR) gauge, or running tube-size vehicles over both the DLR and GN locals.

  141. DW down under says:

    Greg T

    I’d agree that an extra terminal platform @ GN&C Moorgate would help with an increase in capacity on the line. NR seem to be of the view that signalling improvements are good for a reduction to 4-minute headways (ie 15 tph). I have seen no statement showing the ultimate capacity of the line with the latest signalling technology (moving block ATO/ATP – ERTMS – &c). I have my doubts whether the station spacing is suited to 30tph. NR mention a loss of efficiency going to 4-minute headways. I think that means trains being held at caution between stations, lowering average operating speeds.

    As for Belle Isle, I have a suspicion that the strategy is that once the full resignalling is done and bedded in, throughput will rise to 30tph. In that instance, ECML’s share of the traffic would probably increase to 12tph, maybe 14. If I were NR, I’d be putting the restoration of traffic in the 3rd pair of tracks through Gasworks and Copenhagen into the planning, and using the existing Up/Dn Slow pair exclusively for NLL and Thameslink traffic (ie removing the junction to KX altogether). The 3rd pair would be worked “wrong line” up to the freight underpass from Canonbury curve, where the Down line (on the RHS) would diverge onto the freight line through the underpass, while the Up track runs above. That still leaves track and platform arrangements at and north of FP to work through.

    Back to Moorgate, and in response to A=42 and Timbeau:

    I think we are getting on the same page – in essence we need to put the GN&C tunnels in a position to pass under Crossrail. I think the least disruptive is to build a step plate junction just south of Old St – designed to lengthen the Old St platforms to 12 car, then diverge out and down (for the Up line, the converse for the Down) to run alongside and below the Northern Line. At Moorgate, new 12-car plaform tunnels are built south of Crossrail tunnels, and passenger links are provided into Crossrail and existing Moorgate (Northern, Circle) with step-free access.

    The southern end of that station would have a dedicated concourse at Lothbury with direct subway links to the Bank station complex. How about this for a name: “Lothbury for Moorgate and Bank”?

    Southbound: two or more options:

    1) line then swings SE to terminate under or link into Fenchurch St. Northbound, the line runs from the new terminal or link and drops under the Northern line and swings north into the 12-car GN&C Lothbury for Bank & Moorgate Station down platform; or

    2) line then swings S/SW to terminate at deep level under Cannon St, with three double-sided 12-car platforms as I described before. In this case, the southbound tunnel would need to weave down and under the Northern line. The design of the terminal station should leave stubs suitable for continuing the line south in the future.

    c2c might be unhappy about through operations to the GN&C due to reliability contamination; also the need for dual-voltage closed tunnel compliant stock. It may be a case of connected but not connecting.

    Alternatively, the line could be at a lower level (probably out of the good clay). The southbound tunnel run under the Northern line, then swing west. Where it goes from there, well …. The idea of it popping up at Blackfriars has some issues. Not least of which is St Paul’s Cathedral.

    Now, let’s look north from Moorgate: Old St has been lengthened to 12-car in this scenario. That leaves Highbury & Islington, which should be reworked to 12-car with an improved interchange, and Essex Rd to be operated SDO. Drayton Park is not in tunnel, although platform lengthening may not be straightforward.


    Passengers on trains need somewhere to get off their train. We’ve already been told how wonderful FP is – on a viaduct, exposed – poor layout below. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would propose terminating GN suburbans there. Put abundantly simply, the DLR is not going to extend over the GN&C. What is needed is better interchanges for the DLR in central London – but in part that need is superceded by Crossrail. But certainly, there would be a case for City Thameslink or Farringdon, and maybe Charing Cross.

    Are you seriously suggesting extending the DLR to WGC? Apart from NR busily developing the 7-day railway concept that involves bi-directional signalling allowing maintenance work to occur on a “live” railway, they regard the 4-track section as vital to operational flexibility on a busy, mixed train speed railway.


    DW down under

  142. Greg T says:

    IF you are going to take DLR to FP, then you are going to have to have a separate tunnel almost all the way & put it over the East front of the station, as per “New Works” & take it via Crouch Hill to ????
    Intermediate stations, where, assuming new route?
    { Clerkenwell, Angel, H&I, Arsenal(really Arsenal- right by the stadium) & FP ??? }

  143. DW down under says:

    Timbeau et als

    Just a reminder in all our musing that any scheme needs to have a viable implementation plan. The objective is to maintain capacity and service to the largest extent possible, and to rebalance provision of service where prolonged disruptions might occur.

    So, building a step-plate junction south of Old St can be accomplished (using LU expertise) with minimum disruption to ongoing GN&C services. You wouldn’t touch the Northern Line – there’s no fundamental need to, and for the topology that has been described, would introduce disruptions.

    Thereafter, a standalone southern extension of the GN&C would only cause minor disruption where interfacing existing passageways and in construction of the concourse. These disruptions are to pedestrian flow and road traffic, not ongoing rail operations. A link at Fenchurch St could be a little disruptive but manageable.

    DW diwn under

  144. Arkady says:

    Yes, terminating suburbans at Finsbury Park is a terrible idea without a complete station rebuild, and probably even then.

    Unless people are really sure that Stratford could take all the GN suburbans via the Canonbury curve (and I suspect people are *not* sure of that, and if they were it would be a serious inconvenience to passengers wanting the City) I suspect all this talk of lengthening & reforming the N&C is probably moot. It would take years of closure to lengthen the platforms. And incredibly expensive too – given the tunnelling/station cost ratio isn’t it better just to leave the N&C as it is and spend the Money on new Crossrail projects instead? Indeed, isn’t that precisely the policy now, for very good reason?

  145. timbeau says:

    All right – it was interesting to explore the possibilities, but I think we’ll have to accept that, even though it would be possible to connect together the similar-sized blind tunnel ends that point at each other from opposite ends of Princes Street, the impracticalities of adapting either system to allow through-running make this a non-starter.

    One last thought
    “1) line then swings SE to terminate under or link into Fenchurch St. Northbound, the line runs from the new terminal or link and drops under the Northern line and swings north into the 12-car GN&C Lothbury for Bank & Moorgate Station down platform”
    – this is of course the route already followed by the existing DLR tunnel. If it could be reconfigured to accept NR-spec trains a through GN-C2C link could be provided. (i.e convert part of the DLR to NR spec rather than vice versa as I previously suggested)
    Now “all” we need to do is find somewhere for the displaced DLR trains to go……..Deep Level District anyone? or original Fleet Line trajectory? !

  146. answer=42 says:

    The idea is that, by connecting up two constrained terminii, you obtain the capacity to access central London equivalent to something like one third to one half of a Crossrail for less than one third to one half of the price.

    And no, such a scheme would complement, not replace Crossrail 2.

    Why would it take years of closure to lengthen Old Street and Essex road?

    If you look at the map, I think that you will find that St Paul’s cathedral is far enough away to the East for there not to be any concerns. The central line is closer. The obstacle at Snow Hill is also clearly not an impediment to a Moorgate – Blackfriars tunnel. The walking distance between the two stations is 1.1 miles, so we are talking about probably 1.5 – 2.0 miles of tunnel with two intermediate stations (Moorgate and St Pauls – the tube station is to the west of the cathedral and the new station would be to the north-west of the tube station).

  147. Arkady says:


    I understand completely why it would be desirable.

    The many problems with actually doing it have been explored above. If you want to extend the line you are faced with extremely difficult – if not impossible- challenges of obstacles, curves and gradients. And literally impossible without abandoning Moorgate or turning into a spur. And these expensive challenges would probably not be worth taking on without significantly extending the platforms to increase capacity. Presumably if you are going to do that you might as well go for 12-car, which is doubling the size of the current N&C stations.

    Now I only have anecdotal evidence for this, but was it not the case that stations were 60% of the cost of the Victoria Line, and that tunnelling has become relatively much cheaper since then? I wonder what the comparable figure is for Crossrail? Also, has it not taken several years already to build the new Crossrail stations, which are as yet incomplete? Even if it only took half as long to extend the N&C stations you are talking about years for such a complex job. That is why, unless you have figures to quote me, I’m going to treat your “one third to one half of a Crossrail for less than one third to one half of the price” claim with deep, deep scepticism.

    And again, while you are doing those works, what on earth are you going to do with all those Moorgate trains coming from the suburbs? And even if you could find somewhere to send them, would it not cause massive inconvenience for passengers and capacity problems for the existing network, problems that make the Thameslink programme look like a walk in the park?

    Add up all those costs and inconveniences. Then build Crossrail 3 instead. Hell, build it parallel with the N&C if you like for fast ECML-FP-City-South East services and turn the N&C over to something DLR-like incorporating the Northern Heights or some other current fantasy. Sure it will cost more, but in terms of bang for buck coupled with impacts on the rest of the network it isn’t just more desirable – its more feasible.

  148. timbeau says:

    =42 – it was DW, not me, who suggested a Moorgate/Blackfriars link.

    The existing St Pauls (Central Line) tube station is actually near the north east corner of the cathedral – it is City Thameslink which is to the west. I have a map in front of me, and drawing a line on it from Moorgate to Blackfriars actually passes right through both the station and the cathedral. However, if the proposed tunnel were to line up with existing route at Blackfriars (and pass under the existing Thameslink route to reach the existing bay platforms) it would have to describe a curve running north and west of the cathedral, probably following London Wall and passing under St Barts Hospital.

    Not sure exactly where you are proposing to put the new station: connecting it to St Pauls might be possible- the platforms extend some way west of the entrance. Connections with City TL and Barbican (one at each end) would be easier but less useful given that Moorgate and Blackfriars would interchange with the same lines.

  149. mr_jrt says:

    Just a thought.

    Crazy idea…but….how about…I don’t know….boring a replacement Crossrail passenger tunnel and leaving the NCL to continue south from Moorgate unhindered. Just a thought.

  150. Arkady says:

    @mr-jrt – Is it a thought that you picked up from my comment at 03:32PM where I suggested exactly that?

  151. Arkady says:

    Oh I see. You’re talking about something else. Still, there are stil all the other things in the way, and the platform lengthening constraints. People seem to want to ignore the complexity of the issue. It’s not a single-issue problem.

  152. mr_jrt says:


    Other obstacles in the way?

    …and the platforms are long enough if you’re just running 7-car tube stock.

  153. Fandroid says:

    Arkady is right. It’s a crying shame that the piecemeal planning of London’s railways (the British Way !) has left so many terminal stubs. Also our addiction to sweating the assets combined with absolute last minute project starts means that rebuilding existing facilities is either incredibly expensive or totally impractical. The only realistic way forward is more Crossrails, on new alignments.

  154. Arkady says:

    @mr_jrt – Is it not so that the presence of several existing lines, one future one, and foundations, including massive multi-story vaults, prevents mainline extension due to excessive gradients and curves?

    I’m ignoring the idea of converting the line to DLR or tube. If you want to extend the DLR then there are other, better options. You can’t link with the W&C because of the Bank of England. And changing gauge would be an retrograde thing to do even if a) it wouldn’t require interminable closures and b) there was somewhere sensible to send a minimum of 12 tph from the northern suburbs, which there isn’t.

    Now as I said earlier it would be a better cost-benefit/existing traffic fit to tunnel a new Crossrail from FP to the City and beyond to link up suburban lines, and then consider rethinking the N&C as a stopping metro. But you can’t do it the other way around. It reminds me of the people who say that Crossrail money should have been spent on the existing network – ignoring that the kind of interchanges (e.g. Brixton) that we want to see cannot be achieved until existing capacity is relieved. All the interesting things that you might do with the N&C are currently either technically impossible or two disruptive without a relief line. It’s not just about lines on maps, more’s the pity.

  155. mr_jrt says:

    No existing lines are in the way at all…(The NCL is deeper than the SSL.)

    The future one is a passenger passageway, so easy to reroute.

    Foundations…maybe. They’re about the only thing that will have changed from the Met’s proposal to link up to the W&C line at the turn of the last century, but I’m happy to dismiss the Bank of England as a non-issue.

    As for capacity…I advocate extension of the W&C down to Clapham Junction, and 12tph+ of 7-car tube trains from the northern suburbs would be very useful on that axis.

  156. Arkady says:

    Let’s say you are right about obstruction. What do you do with the 12 (in future maybe 16) ECML trains per hour that currently use the N&C? Add to that the extensive interchange problems at FP that would be exacerbated.

    If it *is* technically possible to turn the N&C into a cross-London route, and if it *is* feasible to close the line for a period to adapt it for this purpose and divert those suburban routes, then you might as well make it a standard gauge crossrail with 8-12-car trains.

  157. mr_jrt says:

    I’m not arguing that there isn’t a good case for a NR Crossrail from FP/Ally Pally to the South Eastern – there is. I’m just saying that the NCL isn’t going to justify the work required to lengthen its stations and enlarge its tunnels, and with that in mind they will act as a limiting factor on suburban NR operations, limiting them to 6 car DC units (fittingly, sounds like a tube train to me). Run those ECML trains down a new NR tunnel without the intermediate stops of the NCL and you can have what NR should have chosen rather than the cheapo Belle Isle bodge – i.e. Thameslink 2, aka. the tunnel from KX/FP/Ally Pally to Bermondsey. Link the NCL and W&C as planned and you have a viable tube line. Options beyond FP and CJ I’ll leave as exercises for the reader. Bear in mind of course that as a tube service you don’t have to build a new route for the line – you could take over one of the two existing tube routes north if it proved beneficial and then build a new northern route for the Victoria or Piccadilly to replace the one you just bolted onto the NCL.

    Much like Crossrail 2 and Chelney, there is a good argument for having both the tube metro and the regional Crossrail. In this case, Clapham Junction to Finsbury Park as a tube and Finsbury Park to London Bridge as a NR route.

  158. timbeau says:

    Arkady – I don’t see the problem. We do use trains south of the river you know.

    If I’ve understood jrt, his 12-16 trains off the ECML would still go down the N&C, through the extension wherever it goes – say Waterloo – and then take up the relevent number of paths there. Coincidentally, Table 149 of the current timetable shows exactly sixteen departures from Waterloo over the Windsor Lines between 1700 and 1800. Table 152 (the suburban services via Wimbledon) has 18. Welwyn to Windsor? Kings Lynn to Kingston? Cambridge to Weybridge?

  159. mr_jrt says:

    …just to add, once you have a “TLx” option you can then start running 8, 9 or 12 car trains on the Hertford loop and/or Welwyn stoppers that currently use the NCL. It’ll have to happen eventually. That’s the main benefit of the intended work to hook the ECML to Thameslink – it defers this eventual option for a few years and bypasses the infrastructure limitations of the NCL.

  160. Arkady says:

    @mr_jrt – OK, If you accept that a new FP-South Eastern link via The City would be a prerequisite for conversion of the N&C to tube-gauge then maybe we don’t disagree.

    @timbeau – No he’s not, he’s saying convert it to tube. And if he was – would you really have a 6-car cross-London rail link? Surely you would need to close the N&C to extend the platforms, which is you need a new link first as above.

  161. answer=42 says:

    Thank you very much for sceptically examining my ideas. I actually agree with most of your points.

    Let’s start with one point where you agree with me but where we need to think a little more: ‘I understand completely why it would be desirable.’ The tricky bit of transport planning, as you know, is to ensure that the demand is there, especially as we both agree that Crossrail 2 should and will be built. Maybe we come back to this point later.

    I accept your argument that it is the underground stations that cost the big bucks. There are only two such in my proposal: Moorgate (replacement) and St Paul’s. And this is perhaps the reason why I think that this method is cheaper than a new line. A parallel new line would probably need four underground stations, for example.

    If you want standard sized trains, you certainly need to close the line for a rebuild. If you want to extend the platforms at Old Street and Essex Road to say 12 car trains, you very probably need to close for a rebuild, although maybe not for very long. If you can live with short, squat trains for ever, there is no need for a lengthy closure.

    Perhaps the best compromise is living with the restricted profile but lengthening the platforms. Could this be done during one or two summer seasons, when commuters migrate to sunnier climes? If a longer closure is needed, then the best and perhaps only time for this would be after opening of Crossrail 2, which would initially abstract traffic at Ally Pally.

    Your ball

    Your routing to the northwest of the cathedral and the siting of the station at St Paul’s is more or less how I see things, though the line would also have to line up approximately with the GN+C at Moorgate, even with new platforms. So, from Blackfriars, very roughly, North then East then North.

  162. Arkady says:

    It would seem criminal to be stuck with 6-cars. And much harder and more disruptive to fix once the link is open. As for how long it would take to lengthen the stations – well I’n not qualified. But I look at the work going into the Crossrail 1 station boxes and I quiver.

  163. Lemmo says:

    Great article Arkady! Please can you drop me a line (via JB or Platform Zero) as I have a lot more source material on Finsbury Park and Drayton Park than I passed on to JB a few months ago. Fascinating discussion too.

    On extending the GN&City south from Moorgate, the Crossrail design prevents this and it will be very difficult to overcome. It’s a major oversight, which goes back to the recurring themes of strategic planning and safeguarding.

    If you decided that the GN&City really needed to be extended then your business case would need to identify traffic flows to justify the expenditure required. The most obvious to me is to swing east and hook into the Canary Wharf branch of Crossrail 1, which is limited to 12tph through all that expensive new infrastructure. It’s a relatively short connection, to connect with a large and growing traffic centre. It would provide a welcome opportunity to rebuild the GN&City to extend platform lengths, but you’d lose Moorgate and instead need to provide a new deep-level station somewhere on the northern fringe of the Square Mile.

    Finsbury Park is a major embarrassment and it is shameful that none of the planning authorities have had the balls to take leadership on this. What Arkady did not mention is that it was the developers who made provision to integrate their City North complex into an expanded station from the west side. TfL withdrew citing lack of funding and then presented their own modest planning application for a western ticket hall.

    The TfL planning application has a multitude of diagrams, including cross-sections which show just how close the underground tunnels are to the surface lines. It’s a dog’s breakfast: the station requires a major rebuild.

    Finsbury Park could be the perfect interchange, with a generous alignment on the surface with grade-separation. In the 1940s the intention was to widen the station on the eastern side for LU to take over the route to the Northern Heights. The station could still be extended east but, as noted above, the issue is how to rebuild while maintaining services on the ECML.

    FP has four Down lines and three Up, with the Fast central ECML platform faces essentially unused. To rebuild FB and future-proof to maximise capacity, you may well have to first tunnel the Fast ECML beneath. This then gives you the breathing space to rebuild, but it then provides you with capacity for the many route options that FP offers. It just depends on how much people are prepared to invest in a “strategic interchange” for the future.

  164. DW down under says:

    Hi All

    It’s great to see so many chiming in on the sub-thread.

    A few points may need clarification:

    1 ) The GN&C is listed in the RUS as W6 gauge;

    2 ) LU has extensive experience in undertaking tunnelling around existing tunnels – see the Follenfant book referenced above (my copy is in storage while we move to our new home). There would be limited need to interfere with the operational railway while undertaking platform lengthening at H&I or Old St. I am proposing SDO for Esssex Rd. Cutting in of the step plate junction and of its tracks would be a minor possession (weekend?);

    3 ) I didn’t suggest linking Moorgate GN&C with the terminal platforms @ Blackfriars. IIRC that was A=42’s call. Quite frankly, I see that route as potentially riddled with show-stopper issues of curvature and gradient, tunnels and building foundations, as well as St Paul’s. Now, if the GN&C was diverted somehow north of Moorgate, swung east then curved west under the Circle tracks and up into the former Bedpan platforms – and then run in a tunnelled chord around and UNDER City Thameslink, thence UP and into Blackfriars – maybe. But that route has, itself, many potential issues of curvature and gradient for main-line trains. As for demand, it would be a 5-day railway.

    4 ) I don’t think it desirable for the GN&C to take over the DLR tunnel between Bank and Tower. I’m suggesting separate parallel tunnels through to Fenchurch St. I don’t know the area well enough to discuss how the routes could connect;

    5 ) The GN&C did underpin the Bank of England. It would be instructive to learn whether that still exists, and whether it has any bearing (no pun intended) on our discussion (Arkady pls note);

    6 ) Compared to re-use, repurpose and upgrade, a complete new route costs a bomb more. A short extension south coupled with interchange with LU and main-line services would increase the utility of the GN&C, make it less a workday commuting-focussed line and more a 7-day railway.

    7 ) How important is Essex Rd? Can it be closed without undue problems?

    8 ) Extending the GN&C sarf-west to pick up routes out of Waterloo looks to me to be more expensive than any of the other ideas put up. However, its ability to provide interchange with Thameslink, access to the Holborn/Aldwych/Fleet St/Covent Garden area as well as the City, interchanges with LU and through workings such as Guildford-Cambridge or even Heathrow 5 and Stansted might make it financially and operationally attractive. It could release perhaps 4 platforms at Waterloo to handle traffic increases over time, and would relieve pressure on the W&C.

    9 ) Lemmo said: On extending the GN&City south from Moorgate, the Crossrail design prevents this and it will be very difficult to overcome.” I have identified that a passageway will run directly across the stub ends of the GN&C tunnels. I doubt whether that passageway could readily be relocated at this late stage. I have assumed that because the Northern Line has a secure alignment at Moorgate, that the GN&C can be built either alongside and level with, or alongside and below the Northern line there. Do you have detailed plans which show that this assumption is incorrect. I think all in the conversation now accept that the existing Platforms 9 & 10 at Moorgate cannot be part of an extension.

    10) Lemmo’s idea of hooking into Canary Wharf certainly appeals (it’s CrossThamesRailLink 2500). Where I disagree is that a station could be provisioned such that it’s north-western end could connect with the Moorgaterpool St superstation on Crossrail 1.0;

    11) Lemmo, I’m a little unclear on the idea of tunnelling the ECML fast tracks through FP. That’s because I don’t have a good idea of the depths involved and your thinking. Do you mean UNDER the Pic & Vic, or between the Pic & Vic and the platform tracks above. If the latter, what’s your thinking on passageways, lifts, stairs and/or escalators to link the levels – and on hermetically sealing the station from hefty air drafts of passing LDHS trains.

    In summary, the loading gauge of the GN&C is standard W6; platform lengthening can be done using techniques established on the tube system with minimal service disruption; a new station for the GN&C is needed at Moorgate if the GN&C is to be extended south; there are many linkage options including Fenchurch St, Canary Wharf, Cannon St (terminal), Blackfriars (bay platforms) and Waterloo; for operational reasons NR would not contemplate conversion of the route to DLR or tube, or even a Moorgate-Highgate shuttle with main-line stock; pressure on the at-grade new Belle Isle junction (to Thameslink) could be relieved by re-establishing the 3rd pair of tracks through Gasworks and Copenhagen tunnels, and linking them to Platform 0 and a re-newed York Rd Platform and link to the Widened lines.


    DW down under

  165. Anonymous says:

    The GN&C is no longer standard W6 – it’s been downgraded to SPL because Moorgate Tunnel has insufficient clearance. For details, search for “NC G1 2009 LNE 014 Moorgate to Drayton Park W6 to SPL” on the Network Rail website.

  166. DW down under says:

    I wrote:

    “8 ) Extending the GN&C sarf-west to pick up routes out of Waterloo looks to me to be more expensive than any of the other ideas put up. However, its ability to provide interchange with Thameslink, access to the Holborn/Aldwych/Fleet St/Covent Garden area as well as the City, interchanges with LU and through workings such as Guildford-Cambridge or even Heathrow 5 and Stansted might make it financially and operationally attractive. It could release perhaps 4 platforms at Waterloo to handle traffic increases over time, and would relieve pressure on the W&C.”

    I should have added: of course, the same argument could be made for a Liverpool St – Waterloo link. And Heathrow 5 – Stanstead would only be possible via the GN&C if the Hertford N – Hertford E link was restored and electrified. D-oh! My bad. But of course, with a Liverpool St – Waterloo link, you’d get the connection. The main issue with going sarf-west is the spaghetti junction underneath Bank. Tying in at Waterloo also could throw up challenges because the arches run across the line of the tracks, rather than parallel. Tunnels would have to be under the Waterloo International part, or to the south under the adjoining street.

    If this was adopted, and the GN&C connected in sharing 12tph each via a junction at Bank, the line could then run via a Station at City Thameslink (or Blackfriars) but also include a stop at Aldwych close by to the Covent Garden recreational/entertainment precinct. This should help the routes become 19hr/7day viable railways. Not easy – expensive – but could have a look-in despite the GE lines having Crossrail 1.

    The other possibility with this model is that the GN&C has a junction at Moorgate and sends 12tph to/from the Canary Wharf route, giving 24tph on the upgraded link. That surely would make for a 7-day railway!! It could/should be routed via Fenchurch St to give that station a direct link into the wider London rail network.

    DW down under

  167. DW down under says:

    Anonymous @ 02:48AM, 20th February 2013

    Try as I might to get the NR website to not go in interminable circles, I can’t. I haven’t found a way to get the SPL definition for Moorgate-Drayton Park.

    Have you got a specific URL to take me to the referenced Appendix A or other definition of SPL or the SPL (I admin, I don’t know if SPL is a TLA for Specific Profile Limit or it’s a loading gauge in its own right)? Or perhaps you have the details which you could post?

    I have read the responses from several TOCs and it would seem that they are not in any way perturbed by this development. I think it is safe to assume that current rolling stock can run down the line, as can current maintenance equipment.


    Now here’s a left-fielder: the use of a contact beam instead of overhead contact wire has started to become an available solution to electrification through tight clearances. AIUI, there’s a contact wire all the way from Drayton Park – Moorgate. Now, I was just thinking, if that was replaced by a contact beam with appropriate insulation, could the line be 25kV powered, eliminating the DC, the need to change-over and the need for dual-voltage stock? I just don’t have the profile data yet to know whether this founders on insufficient overhead clearance between the train and a live overhead beam.


    DW down under

  168. Lemmo says:

    @ DW down under, I mention a tunnel for the ECML Fast lines as an (expensive) option because I don’t see how they can rebuild the station while it’s still in operation. This option would yield two extra platforms and space to rebuild. And yes it would have to go beneath the LU lines but, as the cross-sections show, these are very close to the surface it FP (I’ve fixed the link above now).

    The 1940s Northern Heights scheme would have provided two additional platforms on the east side, and some building work was done. There some pics on the Disused Stations website.

    It could still be possible to widen the station on the east side. This would provide additional platforms which would allow rebuilding work in stages, by slewing running lines over while the platforms are dug out and rebuilt. The rebuilding could allow the Fast line platforms to be removed, providing space for four running lines/platforms in each direction for stopping trains.

    The result is a new interchange fit for the 21st Century, with capacity for more route options, e.g. to a rebuilt Northern Heights or to the NLL and Stratford.

  169. Greg Tingey says:

    Mr jrt
    PLEASE – forget the W&C! This has been done to death, here. The tunnels @ Waterloo point the “wrong way”, the stations need extending & the North end is also constrained.
    A new-build would probably be cheaper.

    Later – & everyone …
    I’m not sure discussion of the (needed) Xr3 is relevant here?
    AND the ‘slink problem: Are you running an extended outer/suburban service right through the middle (Xr1, RER) or are you trying to run a “mixed” service through the middle, as ‘slink is, & presumably will be?
    Different operating constraints, after all.

    Lengthening station tunnels
    Why does the station need to be closed?
    Assuming you can drill a shaft in the right place(es) you can proceed with station-tunnel extension, whilst keeping the original one open, surely, at least during the week.
    Expensive, but so is the whole thing …

    Quite a few of us also have material on the GN & C & other things, too! But no-one seems interested.
    If correct, that “the developers” offered money & TfL turned them down, it’s a disgrace. Surely some highly derogatory publicity is needed?
    Yes, my “big tube” book(let) of 1975/6 has a diagram of the proposed “New Works” track lay-out, showing exactly that Eastern extra track-pair.
    No, you just leave the Down & Up mains, exactly where they are – where are they going to “dive” & where are they going to “surface” – extra expense for nothing at all. The solum is wide enough, for a rebuild @ FP, assuming a “loop” extended on stilts to the East, actually.

    DW du
    (2)The Step-plates that were by FP during the Vic-line construction were switched over in a very short possession – approx 36 hours, according to “Rails Through the Clay”
    (7) Not now – traffic has built up, now there’s a service!
    – & – Your later post …
    Errr, no: Theifrow-Stansted is possible on the surface ….
    Acton – Acton Wells – Dudding Hill – Carlton Rd Jn – Junction Rd Jn – S Tottenham – Tottenham Hale. Only wants the track between the two Tottenhams relaying!

    Also & generally … err ,,, more trains into/through the LTSR lines emanating from Fenchurch St? Where are you going to fit them? The current tt shows 18 trains arriving @ Fen St in the hour 08.00 – 09.00 over two tracks, so, for “main-line” trains your highest reasonable frequency, assuming you have got at the next station (i.e. NOT Limehouse or East Ham) 4 tracks to receive them is going to be something like 24tph. Thus you are going to drill this tunnel for an extra 6tph – one every 10 minutes. Um.
    Unless, of course, you do it the other way around, & have 12/15 tph going each way, so to speak – that would work, assuming no service disruptions (shades of the Wombledon loop)

    Like the “contact beam” idea, though.
    I suspect that of course it can be done – but in today’s fragmented railway, it will be a lot more difficult than formerly.
    { MY suggestion: Insulating plastic panels along whole roof of tunnel, mount rod/beam (Thin I-section of Cd/Cu material) gripped in modern plastic/ceramic insulating “jaws” mounted to roof, power-feeds in stations, where there is slightly more room. Job done }

  170. Arkady says:


    “2 ) LU has extensive experience in undertaking tunnelling around existing tunnels – see the Follenfant book referenced above (my copy is in storage while we move to our new home). There would be limited need to interfere with the operational railway while undertaking platform lengthening at H&I or Old St. I am proposing SDO for Esssex Rd. Cutting in of the step plate junction and of its tracks would be a minor possession (weekend?);”

    Really? I’d like to know more, perhaps I will try to acquire the book. Hard to imagine how the metal rings that make up the N&C could be removed and a box built around them (plus all the new platform access points required) without closing the line. Maybe they would build the box first and then remove the rings?

    As for closing or limiting Essex Road to SDO – I think that’s a bad idea. Essex Road is underutilised because of the limited service, because it does not appear on the tube map, and because it is grim (see also Drayton Park). It sits in a run-down part of town that is ripe for regeneration – the Essex Road itself is bustling at the Angel end but declines as you head East. My bet is that evening & weekend services, plus a station revamp, would act as a major boost to the area. For the same reason I think it’s a bit of shame that it has been dropped from Crossrail 2 plans.

  171. Arkady says:

    Sorry, that should be aimed at ‘DW Downunder’.

    @Lemmo – I don’t yet have PZ access, but you should have mail soon.

  172. mr_jrt says:


    No, because no-one has yet convinced me that the problems are worth a new build.

    There’s actually a discussion on this point going on at the District Dave forums, and there’s a poster who worked for Network Southeast back in the early 90’s and was working on proposals to extend the W&C.

    Here‘s my last set of points, the most pertinent here being the layout at Waterloo.

    As you can clearly see, the tunnels pointing the “wrong way” is irrelevant. Continuation of the line to the south west and conversion of the platform and depot to passenger space is fine. At Bank, I think it’d be tight, but this other chap assures me the engineering team said there is just enough room to thread the tunnels through Bank, though they were looking at Liverpool Street, not Moorgate. Conversion to a through station also removes the need for the crossovers and the buffer safety margins, enabling 6 car trains with very little work.

  173. DW down under says:


    The idea at Fenchurch St would be either: terminate GN&C there, with interchange; or somehow physically connect up. In that case 18tph would run on from the LT&S to the GN&C and up via FP to say Peterborough or Stevenage via Hertford N.

    So it wouldn’t be extra trains as such, just more stations for the existing trains to deliver into. LT&S would gain maybe Bank, certainly Moorgate + the illustrious package that the GN&C offers.

    The 25kV OH beam would help enormously with this – no change in rolling stock. I’m still struggling to find what NR found that fouls W6a and led to the “SPL”.

    I hope Arkady reads your comments!


    DW down under

  174. DW down under says:


    Thanks for clarifying your ideas on FP. Indeed taking the fast lines under is a good idea. Hope the BCA is favourable. If it tied in with hybrid/dual system IEPs, so that all LDHS trains ran off the wire, then they’d all have the grunt to climb out of the tunnel and up through Hornsey, AP etc. It’s a slog. I remember the 312s suffering wheel slip climbing through there in my commuting days.

    DW down under.

  175. Lazarus says:

    Arkady: “Hard to imagine how the metal rings that make up the N&C could be removed and a box built around them (plus all the new platform access points required) without closing the line. Maybe they would build the box first and then remove the rings?”

    This is how you do it (although in this case it’s a step-plate junction, but the principle is the same):

    Many of the central London stations on the early tube lines have been extended by building a large diameter tube for the extended station around the running line whilst it is still in use. There is no box, a circular tunnel is bored by hand. When the station tunnel has been dug the running tunnel is removed in a possession (Greg quotes 36 hours to do this) and the running lines supported on trestles until the track base is completed.

    These station extensions are most apparent on the Central Line where the extensions don’t line up with the original station tunnels by up to about 2 feet. In fact the whole of the Central Line’s station tunnels at Holborn were built this way when they replaced the original Central London Railway station at British Museum in 1933.

  176. DW down under says:


    You need to think outside the box, literally. 🙂

    The techniques perfected by LU’s engineers and tunnellers are perfectly tuned to lined circular bore tunnels. How many LU stations need a station box? The technique basically involves cutting a new tunnel of larger diameter around the existing one, with the bit of lining under the rails staying put. They use a purpose built shield, and manually excavate using power tools. Once the new tunnel is lined, they break out the old lining, cut the new lining in above the rails opposite the platform, and below the rails on the new platform side. Once the linings are cut in, fit out proceeds. The rails remain in situ at all times, and trains can run except when the old lining is being removed, or the platform is physically being installed. Weekend and overnight possessions would be ample.

    As for Essex Rd, SDO will do. Did you read the Scotrail brochure for which I provided a link a few days ago? Should the area become trendy and traffic start to grow, then a platform extension could be justified.

    DW down under

  177. Arkady says:

    Well shut my mouth. This is why I love this site. Very pleased to be wrong.

    Re SDO at Essex Road – I assume that would depend on how long the other platforms are extended to. If only to 7-8 car, maybe. If more than that presumably not I missed the Scotrail brochure.

  178. DW down under says:


    Graham Hewitt mentioned that the work that was done was in respect of an extension of the W&C to Liverpool St and beyond. It would make a lot of sense in that the W&C shares the same fundamental stock (but out of sync wrt uprades, etc) as the Central. In conjunction with a relocation of the Waterloo end, longer trains would be viable. Indeed, there’d be little stopping 8-car trains being introduced once such a connection was made.

    The W&C could, along with Crossrail, go a long way to relieving the chronic congestion at Liverpool St Central Line. Indeed, I would suggest new Central line Bank eastbound platforms shared with the W&C (with an crossover from CL east to W&C north to share one of the platforms). Likewise at Liverpool St (two eastbound platforms). The W&C then proceeds on one station for terminating (eg Shoreditch High St). In the westerly direction, there’d be a shared pair of platforms at Liverpool St, then a new southbound tunnel leading to W&C Bank which would be extended north and south. The extra capacity would make an interchange at Blackfriars viable.

    But that belongs in another discussion thread, not here.

    3.6m tube links to 3.6m tube, but NOT to the GN&C.

    But thanks for the pointer to DD’s forum.

    DW down under

  179. DW down under says:

    While researching the SPL mentioned by Anonymous @ 02:48AM, 20th February 2013 I came upon the RSSB Loading gauge document. In it I read the following, and felt it needed to be challenged. This is seriously bending the LR topic, but as it addresses the issue of capacity and the GN&C is capacity contrained, I’d like to share it with you. I apologise in advance that it is in the outfield of the topic.

    I quote from:

    “It is also interesting to consider the anticipated purpose of Double-decked trains. Route capacity is a factor of train capacity and station dwell time. Whilst Doubledeck trains can carry more passengers per unit of floor area, their dwell times at stations are longer than well designed conventional rolling stock. Thus, route capacity is only increased if the latter issue is more than compensated by the former. On British (suburban) routes where additional route capacity is required, it is unlikely that Double-deck trains (because of stopping patterns) would provide better capacity than well designed 23m, wide-bodied rolling stock.”

    May I respectfully challenge that view. Firstly, let me hypothesise a DD design for inner urban workings, then let us consider how its characteristics would fall foul of our desired outcomes.

    I’m looking at a DD car that is 16.3m long over the coupling centres. It would have dual 1m wide plug doors to minimise door intrusion into passenger space, but we do note that further work on operational speed and reliability for this door technology is needed. That gives a 2m nominal door opening at each end, a total of 4m. The outer end of the opening is 1m from the car side end, but the car ends are curved to release as much space as possible for passengers. In the 1.25m (approx) of car length beyond the doors, 4 fold up seats are provided – of a slim profile design. This area is designated for use by wheelchair-bound passengers, parents with prams and the mobility-constrained. When not in use for these special categories of passengers, the seats add to the off-peak capacity, and the space is used during peaks for standees.

    Without dynamic gauging for specific lines, I assume these cars will be limited in width, and of course in height. Static W6a is used for reference, in part because of the short wheelbase bogies, and short bogie centres (see below). The design I propose will apply any extra width allowed to the aisles and hence to standee capacity. The double deck section will be about 9.6m long.

    There are two designs: inner suburban and outer suburban.

    The inner suburban lower deck will have 19 perimeter seats with armrests every 2nd seat on each side – giving a total of 38 seats in that deck. The aisle will be nominally 1150mm wide. The inward facing seats occupy that part of the W6a static profile which steps from 135mm above rail to 280mm above rail. The aisle floor is 165mm above rail, and the cabling/equipment void under the seats is approximately 190mm deep. Because the step from 2700mm wide to 2820mm wide occurs at 1000mm, the shoulder position on the seats would be above that. It is therefore possible to make the aisle wider than the nominal 1150mm, but this is taken as a conservative figure. The stairway would be at least 1m wide.

    The outer suburban lower deck uses a 1+3 layout with high density seating one side yielding 12 seats plus space for the aisle to re-align with a min. 1m wide stairway. The 3-abreast seats are in a face-to-face configuration with traction equipment mounted underneath the back-to-back pairs. This yields 36 seats, for a total of 48 seats and an aisle 600mm wide. The aisle will be sunken by 145mm, ie there will be a step up of 145mm to access the seats. As wheelchairs cannot access the decks, this is a generous aisle width.

    The upper deck is common to both types and is the similar to the outer suburban lower deck. There is the offset stairway of at least 1m width, leading up to a centred aisle, with 2+2 high density seating. On the stairway side, there will be 10 double seats and a single at each end, on the other 13 rows, the end ones being 3 abreast. Total seating capacity is 50.

    Standing capacity is 44 in the inner suburban lower deck at 4/m2. The standing capacity of the outer suburban lower deck is 23, and for the upper decks is 28, both @ 4/m2. While passengers will stand in the stairways, this has not been included in the calculation.

    Standing capacity of the vestibule is 52 each @ 6/m2. Total standing capacity is 176 plus 88 fixed seats giving a peak capacity of 264 for the inner suburban design. The outer suburban design will seat 98 and take 160 standees in the peaks, a total of 258.

    Headroom in the lower deck is set at 1800mm above the sunken aisle, and in the upper deck ranges from 2000mm down to 1775mm following the roof profile.

    With the needs of mobility impaired passengers catered for in the small area adjoining the vestibule, the need for lower step heights to the decks is to a degree averted. For this reason, step heights of 200mm to the lower deck and 255mm to the upper deck are incorporated. You will note that the smaller step depth aligns with the lower headroom of the lower deck. It is also proposed to use lower height seats in that deck. The taller steps align with the greater headroom in the upper deck, where taller seats are proposed. In the inner suburban lower deck, there will be a void under the stairs, due to insufficient headroom for a seat. In the outer suburban, the seating layout provides a minimum of 1200mm seated headroom under the stairs. Step tread depth is assumed at 250mm.

    The floor height of the vestibule is 965mm above rail. This is intended to facilitate wheelchair and similar access from “standard” 915mm platforms.

    Now, there may be some issues of practicality here, especially with the materials needed to minimise roof and floor depths at the aisles, and minimise structural width at the shoulder-elbow level of seated passengers, but we are in 2013 now, not 1973 – so we can assume significant advance in materials technology and composites for this purpose. Equipment would be located under the back-to-back seats and above the vestibules.

    As there is a total of 7.25 m clear for the bogies (assuming step tread depth of 250mm), a 2.1m bogie wheelbase is proposed with a wheel diameter of 660mm over flanges. Some refinement of clearance and wheel diameter is required here, as I do not have access to the key data or suitable tools. This gives a bogie wheelbase of 10.78m. I have assumed for conservative purposes that the lower deck would be 2700mm wide externally at seated passenger elbow height, and the upper deck and vestibules 2820mm externally. Overall height is assumed at 3965mm despite air suspension.

    A 10-car DD inner suburban train would be 165m long (assuming the driving cab has 1m extra for crumple zone), comparable to an 8-car conventional suburban train. It would have a peak capacity of 880 fixed seats plus 1760 standing to give a total of 2640. It would have 40m of doorway width in use. By contrast an eight car SD train would carry about 1760 passengers total, and have 25.6m of 1.6m wide doorways. Pax per doorway metre are 66 for the DD and 69 for the SD. Distance from vestibules: DD, max 5.3m; SD 4.2m. This metric is unfavourable to the DD design, more so with 3 doors/side stock such as that envisaged for Crossrail. This unfavourable metric balances the better metrics of pax per doorway metre to probably balance out dwell times.

    The DD’s dwell times, so long as the internal stairways are a minimum of 1m wide would be no worse than the SD’s, subject to platform capacity. (Source: the late John Dunn, formerly of ComEng.) The ultimate reason for not going DD would only be that London’s stations couldn’t handle it.

    A 12-car platform will take a 15-car DD train. But from the foregoing, you can see that a 165m DD train will carry 2640 passengers, compared with a 12-car 245m SD train which coincidently will carry 2640 passengers.

    To suggest that such an outcome should be dismissed out of hand would be to do the UK a mighty disservice.

    I wish I had the tools to properly draw out this design – maybe you can have someone work it up, but they need to be neutral about the idea, not a gainsayer.

    Best regards ”

    DW down under

  180. Ian Sergeant says:

    @Lemmo, @DW Down Under

    I’d seen that suggestion before of linking Old Street to Whitechapel to provide a 24 tph service on Crossrail to Canary Wharf. I like DW Down Under’s idea of putting an intermediate station at Fenchurch Street. I do have some queries/suggestions though.

    1) I’d want to see double width station platforms (as at Angel) at Finsbury Park as part of the rebuild. If we move the existing Underground tunnels to the east and west of the station as part of this process, the area under the mainline station is freed up, allowing the mainline station to be tackled a pair of platforms at a time. You then don’t need to tunnel so far. Is this cheaper than tunneling the main lines underneath? I don’t know, but you’d need to keep four lines open above ground in any case to run the existing services, so possibly more practical.

    2) I’m not quite sure what to do with 24 northbound trains at Finsbury Park. With the new tracks between here and Ally Pally, what can be accommodated? The requirement on the face of it is only four more tph on the three northbound lines (to support Thameslink) but the obstacle – as ever – is Digwell. Could – and should – we run 24 tph to Ally Pally? Or do we need to reclaim the land under the station as terminating platforms?

    3) DW Down Under I’m not sure why you say Where I disagree is that a station could be provisioned such that it’s north-western end could connect with the Moorgaterpool St superstation on Crossrail 1.0 Could you elaborate?

    4) Fenchurch Street seems too far south for a station at first glance. I’d opt for Aldgate/Aldgate East if I bothered with a station at all.

    5) And – to be boring – do we get that much benefit from the Northern Heights? We’d have to tunnel under the Parkland Walk, quadruple the Finchley section, demolish quite a bit of property between Mill Hill East and the MML. Is the benefit worth the cost?

  181. Ian Sergeant says:

    An afterthought. Given Digwell is the obstacle, maybe I too need to think outside the box. As I’ve said before, the Welwyn Garden City branch acts to relieve the Northern Line for a lot of North London. The issue is the appalling service, but (at least for me in Whetstone) it’s quicker than the Northern Line if I time it right. With a decent service we could take a lot more people off the Northern Line, but that decent service doesn’t need to go too far.

    So two questions.

    1) How many extra tph could we run without further upgrades north of Ally Pally on the slow lines of the ECML if we accept that some trains have to terminate south of Digwell?

    2) Where would the terminus be for the non-WGC trains?

  182. Malcolm says:

    It’s not Digwell, it’s Digswell. A small village just under the Welwyn viaduct. But the bottleneck has generally been known as Welwyn viaduct, and I’m not clear why that name needs to change.

    Yes, trains to WGC, if more frequent, could perhaps relieve the High Barnet branch slightly. But I suspect the relief is almost too small to measure. Most people within reach of both lines are already making their choice, and where they want to go in London, plus exactly where they live, would be the main deciding factor for commuting, rather than frequency (after all, you only get on one train!). But if there are to be more trains through New Southgate, then WGC and Potters Bar provide an ample selection of destinations.

    My proposed “solution” to Welwyn viaduct is to close Welwyn station and provide a single-track narrow-gauge one-train-on-line light railway from WGC to Welwyn (a horizontal lift) bored through the brick piers.

  183. DW down under says:

    Ian Sergeant @ 08:46PM, 20th February 2013 wrote:

    “@Lemmo, @DW Down Under

    I’d seen that suggestion before of linking Old Street to Whitechapel to provide a 24 tph service on Crossrail to Canary Wharf. I like DW Down Under’s idea of putting an intermediate station at Fenchurch Street. I do have some queries/suggestions though.

    1) I’d want to see double width station platforms (as at Angel) at Finsbury Park as part of the rebuild.

    -> Greg T has already identified expansion scope to the east of FP – that could lead to a staged project ultimately leaving the fast tracks independent of platform faces.

    2) I’m not quite sure what to do with 24 northbound trains at Finsbury Park. With the new tracks between here and Ally Pally, what can be accommodated? The requirement on the face of it is only four more tph on the three northbound lines (to support Thameslink) but the obstacle – as ever – is Digwell. Could – and should – we run 24 tph to Ally Pally? Or do we need to reclaim the land under the station as terminating platforms?

    -> The RUS deals with that. See also the article on Thameslink.

    3) DW Down Under I’m not sure why you say “Where I disagree is that a station could be provisioned such that it’s north-western end could connect with the Moorgaterpool St superstation on Crossrail 1.0” Could you elaborate?

    -> Yes, Lemmo @ 10:54PM, 19th February 2013 wrote: “It would provide a welcome opportunity to rebuild the GN&City to extend platform lengths, but you’d lose Moorgate and instead need to provide a new deep-level station somewhere on the northern fringe of the Square Mile.” I was disagreeing that we’d lose GN&C Moorgate – it simply would be repositioned. Maybe we were saying the same thing.

    4) Fenchurch Street seems too far south for a station at first glance. I’d opt for Aldgate/Aldgate East if I bothered with a station at all.

    -> Has merit for a dead-end terminal, but equally so does Cannon St. Similar connections to Circle/District. Don’t need Met or H&C @ Aldgate because already have connection @ Moorgate or by using trains terminating @ KX.

    Fenchurch St is the only isolated London terminus, and this would provide some additional connectivity, either by through-working as a mini-Crossrail or through passenger interchange.

    5) And – to be boring – do we get that much benefit from the Northern Heights? We’d have to tunnel under the Parkland Walk, quadruple the Finchley section, demolish quite a bit of property between Mill Hill East and the MML. Is the benefit worth the cost?

    -> Really Ian, you might be overstating the scope of project needed. I did write above about the criteria for such a restoration – one of which was the provision of a well drained and well shaded footpath along the corridor – another was the need to maintain tube train access to the Highgate depot. The need for restoration centres around the loadings on the Northern line. How the restoration is to be done ties in with some technology discussions, especially the emerging technology of overhead contact beam for 25kV in tight clearance situations. If this would work for the GN&C, then 3rd rail is eliminated and the line would be OHLE @ 25kV. If it doesn’t work for GN&C, then we retain 3rd rail and share the DC supply with the tube trains running ECS to and from their depot. Either way, through working of the trains to multiple destinations would be desirable and a service frequency of around 8tph needed to deliver the time savings. We could expect most if not all of these trains to be routed via the GN&C until Thameslink goes up from 24tph with ERTMS/ATO/ATC/ATP. That means the GN&C would need to be extended to either a 3 track, 6 platform face terminal somewhere like Cannon St, or through worked via either Fenchurch St, Canary Wharf or Blackfriars so that it can take 24tph on full restoration of close headway signalling. The northern terminus would be Highgate High level, and improved rapid interchange built into the station upgrade due to the vertical separation at that location.

    I do not envisage any attempt to run the Northern Heights line in parallel with the existing Northern line north of Highgate, unless a compelling case can be made for completing the unfinished connection to Edgeware.


    DW down under

  184. DW down under says:

    Ian Sergeant @ 10:38PM, 20th February 2013

    An afterthought.

    So two questions.

    1) How many extra tph could we run without further upgrades north of Ally Pally on the slow lines of the ECML if we accept that some trains have to terminate south of Digwell?

    -> see the ECML RUS and the article here on LR about the Thameslink timetable

    2) Where would the terminus be for the non-WGC trains?

    -> Potters Bar has been mentioned. Hatfield is a maybe. But because there is an intensive service on the ECML, any conflicting moves are highly undesirable. WGC has the flyover which makes it about the only acceptable terminus. Otherwise, it’s up the Hertford loop.



  185. DW down under says:

    Malcolm @ 11:02PM, 20th February 2013, wrote:

    “My proposed “solution” to Welwyn viaduct is to close Welwyn station and provide a single-track narrow-gauge one-train-on-line light railway from WGC to Welwyn (a horizontal lift) bored through the brick piers.”

    -> you didn’t put in a smiley!!

    I don’t think NR is going to let you weaken their structure, nor the Heritage Council allow you to spoil the historical value of the structure.

    The solution to Welwyn North is simple. It’s called a bus. That’s what happened to innumerable stations along main lines in Britain (OK, it is a finite number but I don’t have the data), and the loadings at Welwyn North (AFAIR) wouldn’t justify anything else.



  186. Greg T says:

    Actually the solution to Welwyn North is … a cable-car!
    Errr ?

    Unless, of course you actually (don’t faint, now!) do a proper, solid engineering job…
    4 tracks from DIgswell Jn to Woolmer Grn Jn

  187. DW down under says:

    Greg T @ 10:24AM, 21st February 2013 wrote:

    Actually the solution to Welwyn North is … a cable-car!

    => Greg, do I need to point out to you that Boris isn’t in charge there … and that a certain Middle Eastern airline is unlikely to have any desire to provide sponsorship 🙂

    But if you don’t like the idea of a bus, you could always put on pedi-cabs (grunt!!!).



  188. timbeau says:

    Remember that the viaduct at Digswell/Welwyn/ whatever you want to call it is not the only structure on the bottleneck – there is little room to widen the formation at Welwyn North station, and there are the two tunnels immediately north ofi t as well. Driving a new tunnel under the lot might be a solution. The viaduct is 100 feet high, so such a tunnel would need to descend for a mile at 1 in 40 stay under the bottom of the valley, and climb again on the other side (obviously shallower gradients would need a longer tunnel – what would be reasonable gradients for modern high speed trains? (Stopping trains would use the existing formation)
    A bypass line on a new alignment alongside the A1(M) might also be possible.

    How much would it cost to relocate Boris’s dangleway to Digswell, where it might do some good? It’s about the right length!

  189. DW down under says:


    There’s no hint of quadding in the RUS in any CP.

    The main issue is local trains (the semi-fasts) stopping at Welwyn. That knocks out at least 1 LDHS path.

    Eliminate the Welwyn stop, and the viaduct can carry more trains. This is one case where I can overcome my emotional disdain and loathing of bustitution.

    Indeed the bottleneck comprises a 2-track section through 2 tunnels and a viaduct. The bypass of this bottleneck is called: …….. …… (wait for it …… ) the Hertford loop!! 🙂

    That’s what it’s there for.


    DW down under

  190. timbeau says:

    For the avoidance of confusion for those not familiar with it DW is, i assume referring to eliminating Welwyn North, not WGC.

    Accepted that the Herrtford Loop is a sort of bypass for the Welwyn/Digswell bottleneck, but it’s not exactly built for speed and carries a busy stopping service of its own. There are, except for the Welwyn section but including the Hertford loop, six tracks all the way from Finsbury Park (where the Moorgate line comes in) almost all the way to Hitchin (where the Cambridge line peels off). Thus Digswell is still a bottleneck even if the Hertford Loop is taken into account. Welwyn North is the only station south of Hitchin where express trains pass through the same platform used by all-stations trains.

    Could Welwyn North be reconfigured such that it has just one (bidirectional) platform for stopping trains, the space vacated by the other platform allowing room for a third track, so that there can be two fast tracks and one slow?

  191. Malcolm says:

    @timbeau “Could Welwyn North be reconfigured such that it has just one (bidirectional) platform for stopping trains, the space vacated by the other platform allowing room for a third track, so that there can be two fast tracks and one slow?”

    Interesting idea, but I suspect that the tunnels prevent the tracks from being separated to put the stopping platform in the middle. If it is on one side, then the crossing manouevres would prolly take up as many paths as the current setup.

    It does seem to me to be the sort of place that’s crying out for an ingenious solution of some kind. The problem with buses is presumably there must be a few captains of industry or tory grandees or some such that live there, and are presumed to be capable of screaming fit to put Violet Elizabeth Bott to shame if their train service is touched.

  192. Greg T says:

    The only sensible engineering solution (as opposed to re-importing the Arab-fly Dangleway away from it’s present dangerous siting) is to 4-track right through, whhich involves demolishing Welwyn N, drilling two new tunnels & building one double-track ot two single-track viaducts parallel to the existing one.
    Welwyn N then has pfs on the slow lines.

    Looking at ariel photos, I think that there is just room for a 4-track station, squeezed between the tunnel-mouth & the viaduct-end, but … would that be any use, really? You’ve still got to get the 1/2-hourly outer-stopper into & out of the loops, between the HS services. Um.

    OTOH, if we’re going to be really silly, how about a double counterbalanced rope inclined planes(s) service from WN to /from WGC? Trouble is that WGC is some distance South of the viaduct. Approx 1.5km according to the OS map

  193. Fandroid says:

    My understanding is that some feasibility work has been done in the modern (post-BR) era on four-tracking through the Welwyn two-track section. It would be interesting if an ‘Anonymous’ could tell us what the favourite solution was at the time.

  194. DW Down under says:

    1) Yes I was referring to Welwyn North

    2) The reasons that there’s no reference in the RUS to quadding are:
    a) that the Hertford loop is doing its job,
    b) alternative, non-London routes are being developed for W9/10/11/12 freight
    c) the N-S freight corridor Southampton – Oxford – Bedford – (Sandy)
    d) the only real problem is a minor wayside halt generating very modest traffic.

    3) Welwyn North sits perched on a hillside between a tunnel and a viaduct. Fast trains traverse this section (well in my day anyway) @ 105mph. Stopping trains have to slow to 70mph to swing off to the slow lines north of the 2nd tunnel (it was a 70mph turnout, then 75mph slow line). There’s simply no way that separate platform roads could be provisioned here without the stopping trains still requiring more than a single “path” on the ECML to accommodate slowing and restarting. Some smart resignalling would be needed to prevent a stopping train being stuck for several minutes in the loop until the main line ahead clears. It would be a major investment for limited operational benefit and lacking a hefty customer base to create the imperative.

    4) Offpeak, the ECML has an intensive all-day LDHS timetable, and some W6a/W9 freight, along with the GN outer suburban fasts and semi-fasts. So, the only answer is: :::::::::::::: as I said before (;- bus.

    DW down under

  195. DW down under says:

    Anonymous (who posted about GN&C having a loading gauge change)

    Have not been able to get any doc or info about the change to SPL.

    Could you please post a link


    DW down under

  196. Hertslad says:

    Regarding Welwyn North (this is my local station so I know it quite well), the bottleneck was looked at being eliminated back in the late 90s when people thought Railtrack was a good idea. They consulted on a number of options, including platform loops for Welwyn N – this was found to lower capacity overall.

    The Railtrack solution of four-tracking all the way clearly will not happen for the foreseeable future. I understand the current plan is post-Thameslink to replace the current 317s and 321s on the route with fast-accelerating Electrostars, which would limit the amount of extra time the stoppers take.

    It’s all very well to talk about bustitution, but despite a sharp reduction in peak service in recent years (from 4tph to 2tph) the station is better used than ever – and much better used than some stations nearer London. The traffic problems into Welwyn Garden City and other nearby stations are such that the station is used as a park and ride for a large swathe of the Hertfordshire countryside – helped of course by the large carpark, something WGC is entirely lacking.

  197. DW down under says:

    WN only had the half-hourly semi fast to/from Royston plus some extras in the peaks in my days of commuting the ECML.

    So it went up to 4tph and has been pared back to 2tph.

    Nothing wrong with a bus shuttle from the car park to WGC included in your season ticket. Not ideal but unless someone wealthy in Herts wants to sponsor an awfully expensive project, that’s probably the best that could be aimed for.

    The concept of remote car parks is starting to take off for rail routes where there’s no suitable space near the station. If it’s needed in Perth, Western Australia, then it would be no surprise that it’s needed in land-starved Britain. WN feeding to WGC would be a classic case.

    DW down under

  198. Hertslad says:

    Still would mean a massive increase in journey times, as traffic into WGC at that time is absolutely terrible – I know from my experience of taking a bus in rather than walking to WN. There’s no room for bus lanes and the like, and from WN car park to WGC the road’s a much longer way round than by rail.

    But there’s no need to close it (and make the 500,000 who use the station each year v angry) as resignalling and faster-acceleration trains will provide an extra path, and HS2 will take the LDHS away from the station. The more pressing concern is how to extend the platforms at WGC. No Thameslink will be stopping between FP and Stevenage as a result of the problem at WGC northbound in particular, but at some point 12-car trains will need to run, and then there’ll be some very expensive remodelling at WGC.

  199. DW down under says:


    What prevents the WGC platforms from being extended to the North? The south has complex pointwork. While the turnouts from slow-fast & v-v were (in my day) 70mph, NR does have faster pointwork that could be used.

    There’s also back platforms on both sides – so I struggle to understand the problem.

    Let’s hope the resignalling and gruntier trains gets the paths needed.

    TL will have 8 car trains as well as 12. But the stopping patterns discussion is under a different topic (What’s it all about, Thameslink).


    DW down under

  200. The other Paul says:

    @DW Down Under – Re: GNC re-gauging docs

    I just googled “NC G1 2009 LNE 014 Moorgate to Drayton Park W6 to SPL” (with the quotes) and found them.

  201. DW down under says:

    The other Paul @ 01:40AM, 25th February 2013


    Just tried it again – same result – no Appendix A, no actual data.

    Did you get more than just the covering letter and responses?

    DW down under

  202. Greg Tingey says:

    DW du
    Just looked @ ariel photos (bing maps) of WGC – coupled with my (old) “quail” …
    There appears to be room @ the S end to extend both pfs’ by ~ 2 coach-lengths.
    To the N, the up-side pfs appear to be capable of 2-3 coach extension
    The down-side would require ONE point-pair/long crossover to be moved North (not too far) and the outer pf line to be slued a little – but even so there’s room for a 1.5 coach-extension, as it stands.
    So, no, there is NO barrier to WGC having its platforms lengthened …..
    Yes, the up “starter” signals might have to move, but that would just mean longer cable-runs, since you are NOT actually altering the actual track layout & interlocking. Ditto the N end ….

  203. DW down under says:

    Thanks Greg

    re: WGC

    Then maybe here’s a plan: The down suburban/reversing platform stays as is.

    The down crossovers get moved substantially further south and uprated to 80/90 mph to allow semi-fasts to cross over to the down slow platform without causing adverse signals to following services.

    The down fast runs through, no platform.

    The up slow is slewed to the back platform on the up side.

    The up fast is slewed into the up slow platform, with 125mph curves … and back again.

    In this way, up semi-fasts can call @ WGC without cross-over moves, as at Stevenage, Potters Bar and elsewhere.

    It’s just a thought – would eliminate the crossover that’s an obstruction to the north and allow 12-car platforms throughout. The down suburban/reversing platform could be signalled to accommodate two 6-car trains.

    Hmmmmm ???

    DW down under

  204. JM says:

    Forgive me if this takes a good discussion in another direction but touching on what others have wrote but looking 20 years ahead, if CR2 ends up utilising the Hertford East leaving a core T/L to Welwyn/Cambridge/Peterborough and 8 tracks through the station is a possibility (through eastern extension), could a good future alignment be. Even with 7 platforms, a single platform for the eastern service may suffice.

    2 fast through
    2 Thameslink
    2 terminating or running through to sidings for eastsern route to Stratford or Royal Docks (LO/even DLR if freight routes from Canonbury to Stratford can be routed via other means). A means of travlling east to north or vice versa without going central. Helps disperse Arsenal traffic, plenty of whom travel east)
    2 Northern Heights through to East Finchley (provided you can have an extra track just north of the station) as part of a wider scheme (new xr, proably new tunnels in the City). CPI with the Northern at East FInchley can help direct those travelling direct to the city from north London away from Euston/Kings Cross. Means you could use Northern Line Barnet branch to run via TCR to to help relieve the City branch. GIven the extra amount of trains required for Euston, can see Mill Hill East getting double platforms and becoming a through destination again.

  205. Hertslad says:

    @JM Certainly CR2 taking over one of the Great Northern routes would be the only way the GN&C could be handed over to be part of a Northern Heights scheme. There’s an awful lot of disused space to the east and west of FP so all that could be brought back fairly easy. But due to the short platforms and difficulty of southward extension, it might be easier to run any Northern Heights trains as highly frequent 6-car operations.

    Regarding WGC, however, there simply isn’t room to south or north on the down tracks. Physical room to south is unusable as too close to the points, and to the north it’s the same story with the crossover from the bay to the slows. The only way they could make it work is to remove the bay-slow crossover, with associated impacts on flexibility. I guess this will be how the problem will be resolved in the long term (though I understand Hatfield down faces similar problems, but I’m less familiar with the station). Certainly, the reason given for the planned Thameslink 12-car trains running fast from FP to Stevenage is that WGC is the sticking point – with points so close on either side they can’t even use SDO.

    Slewing the fasts over to the slows is an interesting idea. Certainly platform 1 never seems to get much use apart from early morning starters. I’m no expert on how points and crossovers affect speeds, and there would of course still need to be the slow crossovers from the down-slow onto the bay and vice versa – both platforms 3 and 4 are used for terminating/starting services in the peaks, and this number is likely to increase post-Thameslink.

  206. DW down under says:


    re: WGC

    The reason I proposed a signal at 125m along an extended Platform 4 is to accommodate the early morning starters.

    The reason I proposed a high-speed down crossover fast-slow much further south is to mitigate impact on following services.

    I was working off the aerial data Greg T supplied, and proposed the slewing of the Up Fast into Platform 3 and Up Slow into platform 4 as an alternative to relocating the crossover from Up Slow to Platform 4 road.

    As you may recall, many of the Royston fasts (which would be Cambridge semi-expresses these days) ran Stevenage – FP non-stop anyway. WGC was ONLY served by the semi-fasts which ran Potters Bar – FP express. So a return to the early 80s NSE patterns?


    DW down under

  207. The other Paul says:


    I think 12 car extensions at WGC (at least for the West side island) would have to involve the re-engineering/re-building of Bridge Road to widen the span and remove the supports so that the platforms could be extended underneath. Not a cheap endeavour, but not dissimilar to the way it was done at St John’s. There’s nothing preventing the junctions being moved to the North of Bridge Road.

    The 8 car sidings to the North, hemmed in by housing, might present further difficulties in terminating 12 car trains. To extend those the railway would probably need to demolish a couple of homes and grab large parts of the car park.

  208. DW down under says:

    The other Paul @ 01:08AM, 26th February 2013

    I wouldn’t anticipate immediate extension of the WGC northern sidings. I also would not expect 12-car trains to be terminated @ WGC.

    If the ideas for GN&CX come to pass, then and only then would provision be needed.

    Meanwhile, the max we can expect on the GN&C Moorgate branch is use of SDO firstly with 7 cars, then maybe with 8. So until anything major is approved down in London, those sidings are fine.

    It’s the through trains that will need accommodating if they are to include WGC in their stopping pattern.


    DW down under

  209. DW down under says:

    The topic of extending the GN&C south has been discussed over at District Dave’s forum

    There have been some challenges to the concept by regulars there. Graham Hewitt has contributed some elements of costings. Others there have been somewhat dismissive. Here is my latest post to help bring the discussion here up to date:

    Re: GN&C extension – Fenchurch St concept

    After a solid squint at Google Maps and Bing maps, it seems to me the route south of Moorgate will pass under, in order south to east:
    – Moorgate St
    – Princes St
    – Lombard St
    – Fenchurch St
    – thence underneath Sainsbury’s and the Clothworkers’ Hall
    – London St
    – across Fenchurch Place
    – Fenchurch St station forecourt

    I then propose that 4 platform tracks be built in deep tunnel directly beneath the existing tracks. From the measurements I could take, the existing platforms seem to be for 12-car trains.

    The line would rise from passing under the Circle Line to be just below street level at Mansell St.

    In the 275m between Mansell St and Leman St the line would rise to existing viaduct level.

    Maximum gradient would be about 1:25. Steep? Yes. Workable with high acceleration rolling stock? Yes. Power supply upgrade? Yes.

    There is a gap between the pairs of tracks on viaduct between Leman St and the Back Church Lane underpass. The two streets are 108m apart. That would be the location of the turnouts to/from the tunnel. Initially the tunnel would “patch in” to the existing LT&S but after a bedding in period, the tunnel tracks would take over the centre two. When Fenchurch St (High Level) is decommissioned and sold off, the outer tracks would be downgraded to refuge sidings.

    Once Fenchurch St is decommissioned, the Viaduct land could either be used for expanding Tower Gateway DLR and possibly providing some interchange facilities there; or Tower Gateway could be abandoned and the entire viaduct structure west of the DLR Bank branch divergence point at Dock St released for development.

    I envisage interchange facilities with the Circle/District at Tower Hill and if Tower Gateway is retained, with that Station.

    The curvatures involved would be quite sharp at BoE, Princes St around to Lombard St and where the line diverges from Fenchurch St to pass under Sainsbury’s and The Clothworkers’ Hall to London St and underneath the existing station. Apart from the curve at BoE (which troubled the Directors of the original GN&C Rly Co.), the others are on station approaches where trains will be reducing speed anyway. The GN&C station for Bank would be under Lombard St, and would have an additional entrance near Gracechurch St.

    The GN&C Rly Co underpinned the BoE in the early 1900s in preparation for their extension to “Lothbury”. It would appear to me that the work they did might still be of benefit. What I don’t know is the topology of the Northern Line at this location, and how the GN&C would fit with the Northern tunnels. Appreciate some input. As Graham says, the roads aren’t that wide. Only right above Moorgate Station does Moorgate St have an easement wider than 10m.

    Costings. Revised upwards:
    – Tunnel, station and rail construction: £1.15 bn
    – Underpinning Sainsbury’s and Clothworkers’ Hall: £100m (guess)
    – Upgrade power supplies for more powerful trains: £25m (guess)
    – Alllowance for error: +30%
    TOTAL: £1.275bn
    – Sale of lands, platform and concourse level and remaining aerial rights: £0.5bn
    Net amount for financing: £0.775bn
    Cost of finance over 40 years: totally unknown. Using Graham’s figure of 30% = £232.5m
    Total net present cost: £1.0075bn


    The task now is to quantify benefits and attributable revenue. That’s almost an accounting exercise removed from any reality. Part of the problem is that latent demand is mixed with increasing overall demand. NR’s financial benefit is being able to sell a lot more paths to TOCs. This might be the best place to look. I don’t have any data on that. Does anyone here? In addition, by undertaking this, NR deals with an emerging operational challenge and increases the value of paths on the GN Inner Suburbans by each path being able to carry a significant increase in passengers. That benefit must be offset by the costs of platform extensions at Moorgate, Old St, H&I, Drayton Pk and maybe Essex Rd to accommodate these higher value paths.

    Let’s add £100m for Moorgate, £150 for Old St and H&I, and £20m for Drayton Pk to cover that. Total = £420, plus error margin = £546 plus finance @ 30% = £709.8m net present cost. These numbers are pure guesswork to factor some allowance in. Graham, are you able to refine these?

    Now, am I being realistic? How do these numbers stack up against TL and Crossrail?


    DW down under

  210. Brock says:

    @Hertslad’s comment about “the planned Thameslink 12-car trains running fast from FP to Stevenage” will have considerable implications if, as I understand, the TL services are intended to be replacements of the existing semifast and stopping Cambridge and Peterborough services

    Unless additional offpeak and weekend services are introduced to cover the omitted station calls, there will effectively be no connection between WGC and stations further north, except by doubling back to Finsbury Park on an all stations service.

    Admittedy the peak timetable already includes a mix of 12 car and 8 car services, with the former running non-stop through WGC, Hatfield and Potters Bar – but are there any plans to run something more like the peak service all day?

    @D W down under has certainly come up with an interesting idea for platform lengthening at WGC, and I agree with the comments re terminating and stabling 8 car services; but I must admit I share the concerns of @The other Paul and @Hertslad re the practicalities of provision for 12 car through services.

  211. DW Down Under says:


    Are there no services running KX-FP-Potters Bar-Hatfield-WGC-WN-Knebworth-Stevenage-Hitchin-Letchworth etc?

    They’d be 8-car I’d assume.

    The other Paul from the TL thread:

    Ah, brings back memories of: “The next train from Platform 9 is for Royston, calling at Finsbury Park, Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Royston. Change at Royston for Shepreth, Meldreth, Foxton and Cambridge” (IIRC)

    I assume these are now the Cambridge fast trains.

    DW down under.

  212. MiaM says:

    An extension of GN&C might itself bring longer platforms at Moorgate.

    Longer platforms, moved a bit to the south, might even make a Moorgate-Bank combination station (like Crossrails Moorgate-Liverpool St or Northern+DLR at Bank-Monument).

    How can 6 car trains be a major problem on GN&C when Thameslink is planned to have 8 car services even when the most constrained central part can handle 12 car trains? If there is a capacity problem in central London then the first solution must surely be to scrap the 8 car Thameslink services and replace them with 12 car services (either extending platforms on 8 car routes or run Thameslink only on already 12 car capable routes).

    If a new/extended platform would be buildt at Moorgate(-Bank) then that platform could be made for 12 car trains and a mixed service with for example 12 TPH slow 6 car trains and 12 TPH “fake-fast” 12 car trains. “Fake-fast” = trains that don’t stop at stations between Moorgate and Finsbury Park but don’t run any faster than the stopping trains. (Or you could use SDO and actually mark half of the trains as fast and the other half as slow…).

    On the other hand, tunnels from Moorgate to for example Farringdon or perhaps Canon Street or even Waterloo or Victoria would cost about as much as tunnles from Liverpool Street. If tunnels would be buildt from Liverpool Street there would be no problem in running 12 car trains. Problem solved, kind of.

    I like the idea of the canonbury curve connected to the ELL. Highbury&Islington would lose ELL but that would not be a problem as the interchange could just aswell be made at FP (or Drayton Park for the GN&C).

    P.S. When we are talking about different “crossrail” schemes, how about connecting either the district or the metropolitan to c2c (and let the other of those two take the Upminster service). Or is that a crappy idea?

  213. timbeau says:

    “connecting …….the district ……to c2c” was done in 1902, when the District took over the LTSR’s local services. I doubt if the double track section from Aldgate East to Bow Junction could cope with C2C’s outer suburban traffic on top of everything it already carries now, nor that C2C’s regulars would appreciate the extra half dozen stops between the City and Bromley by Bow

  214. mr_jrt says:

    @MiaM & timbeau

    I always thought that sending the District up over the DLR’s Bank alignment from Tower Hill would have been worthwhile as an express option (or even a variation of the original tunnelled Deep-level District plan from Hammersmith to Tower Hill via Earl’s Court (Picc, Wimbleware), South Ken (Circle, Picc), Victoria (NR, Circle, Victoria), CX (NR, Circle, Northern, Bakerloo), Blackfriars (NR, Circle) and Cannon St (NR, Circle) )…from Tower Hill, Shadwell (LO), Limehouse (NR), Poplar, Custom House, (reinstated branch to Beckton), Beckton, then all stations to Grays.

    As seen in the usual place.

  215. DW down under says:

    There’s been a continuation of the discussion about extending the GN&C south (GNCX) over at District Dave’s. Graham Hewitt has been helping with costs, and appraisal issues. This was posted there a few moments ago and is posted here to bring LR readers up-to-date …

    OK, Graham, thanks indeed for your input.

    Perhaps the GN&C Rly Co Directors were right when they decided that Lothbury was as far as they could get! The closer one looks at it, the tougher making it work becomes (that’s a variant of Murphy’s law, I think). I’m not anticipating 1:25 grades directly before the platforms – wouldn’t be needed, but further east, near where the DLR joins the LTS easement. The streets passing under the viaduct are challengingly close to each other. An alternative might be to lower one of the cross streets to ease the gradient – or close one altogether. The first adds cost (several million), the second negative social benefit.

    I think you’re right about the challenge in making a quantifiable benefits case. The difficulty is that NR’s revenue is from selling track access, the TOCs from filling trains and the DFt holds so many of the purse strings that if they like the idea, the numbers have a better chance of adding up.

    Let’s have a look at it. Net social benefit comes from personal time saved, by shortening walking time, by increasing the coverage of the “pedshed” and by reducing or eliminating interchanges needed for a range of O-D combinations. That’s the value-of-time benefit which comes into a social cost-benefit analysis (well it did in the days of my MSc studies, anyway), and which you rightly recognise.

    By your reckoning, we’d need 50,000 more punters per day. Well, let’s say that half the benefit can be quantified using value-of-time, and through operational productivity gains (both rolling stock and manpower). That leaves 25,000 punters per day to add – read that as 25,000 more peak period trips per working day – which is about 14.2 extra trains per peak, spread over 2 hours is roughly 7 extra trains per hour. Moorgate presently terminates 12 tph, and the intent is to increase that to 24. That’s an extra 12 trains per hr, all at least 8-car. Each standard 8-car train can hold about 1750 passengers. 12 extra trains @ 1750 would equate to 21,000 extra punters. Any 12-car trains in the mix just increases the passenger volume. If say 4tph were 12-car, for example, then one adds 3500 punters. Then there’s the shoulder and off-peak traffic. Now if this is in essence growth traffic, then perhaps the case can be made after all.

    I’d put it to you that we have a prima facie case to conduct a more detailed analysis. Perhaps this should go to Travelwatch for a TfL analysis?

    And I’d appreciate your appraisal of the design detail so far.

    Now …. there were some in this thread and over at LR who thought London Bridge would be a good idea. Apparently the signalling control centre sits above where some shorter platforms once were, and which would be coveted now by SLL supporters. Now if the GNCX were to hook into the LB lines there, they’d be on the opposite side to the TL through traffic and could add more destinations. I don’t know the topology of tunnels and structures in that area, and I’d prefer to leave it to one of the LB route advocates to undertake the do-ability analysis. One was enough for me for now.

    Thanks again Graham for all your input.


    DW down under

  216. DW down under says:

    MiaM @ 07:43AM, 27th February 2013 wrote:

    “An extension of GN&C might itself bring longer platforms at Moorgate.”

    => That would depend entirely on clearances to the Crossrail tunnels. Also, Moorgate St narrows less than 80m south, so there might not be enough easement for platform tunnels there. I’ve had a close look at Google and Bing Maps since I last posted here about this, and some of my earlier comments and ideas would run into problems at the detail level. This was one.

    “Longer platforms, moved a bit to the south, might even make a Moorgate-Bank combination station (like Crossrails Moorgate-Liverpool St or Northern+DLR at Bank-Monument).”

    => I had initially thought that. Not feasible unfortunately.

    “How can 6 car trains be a major problem on GN&C when Thameslink is planned to have 8 car services even when the most constrained central part can handle 12 car trains? If there is a capacity problem in central London then the first solution must surely be to scrap the 8 car Thameslink services and replace them with 12 car services (either extending platforms on 8 car routes or run Thameslink only on already 12 car capable routes).”

    => That proposition is predicated upon completion of platform lengthening and/or resignalling to support acceptable train frequencies with SDO. This won’t be the case for services both south and north of the river for some years after TL has gone live in 2019. The rolling stock order would need to be extended as well. It would be easier to make a case for an extra tranche of trains after the line is up and running fully.

    => Six car trains underutilise the infrastructure of the GN inner suburban lines (most platforms can handle 8 or more cars) and the GN&C tunnels. It’s the GN&C platforms, and in particular the terminal platforms at Moorgate that are the constraint at present. Being able to run longer trains makes more efficient use of each “path” on the line, and helps realise latent demand.

    => How will the GNCX add extra trains and extend existing trains? In part, that become possible because of elimination of 2 city terminal operations for each through run. So if 24 through runs per hour in each direction occur and the usual dwell time for reversal, including recovery time, is 10 minutes, and that is reduced to a 30-second stop at 3 stations, then 8.5 minutes is saved from each run. Over 24tph each way, that’s 408 minutes, the equivalent to 7 or 8 extra trains. Another 4 or 5 will need to be acquired.

    “If a new/extended platform would be buildt at Moorgate(-Bank) then that platform could be made for 12 car trains and a mixed service with for example 12 TPH slow 6 car trains and 12 TPH “fake-fast” 12 car trains. “Fake-fast” = trains that don’t stop at stations between Moorgate and Finsbury Park but don’t run any faster than the stopping trains. (Or you could use SDO and actually mark half of the trains as fast and the other half as slow…).”

    => Have you seen how ScotRail inform passengers about SDO. I posted it here some time back? In essence, what you described is what SDO does. If you want to exit at a short platform, travel in the front of the train. Onboard PIDs re-inforce the message.

    “On the other hand, tunnels from Moorgate to for example Farringdon or perhaps Canon Street or even Waterloo or Victoria would cost about as much as tunnles from Liverpool Street. If tunnels would be buildt from Liverpool Street there would be no problem in running 12 car trains. Problem solved, kind of.”

    => Liverpool St to where? Not sure I understand.

    “I like the idea of the canonbury curve connected to the ELL. Highbury&Islington would lose ELL but that would not be a problem as the interchange could just aswell be made at FP (or Drayton Park for the GN&C).”

    => That was discussed upthread. The opinion was that there was insufficient capacity for it to play an meaningful role. Also that connection to the ELL involved significant conflicts. Furthermore, as if being limited to 6-car trains wasn’t challenging enough, the ELL and NLL are 5-car train routes.

    “P.S. When we are talking about different “crossrail” schemes, how about connecting either the district or the metropolitan to c2c (and let the other of those two take the Upminster service). Or is that a crappy idea?”

    => Have you heard of “strange bedfellows”? Well that’s what the marriage of a long-distance commuter service with an urban all-stops metro would be. Chiltern on the other hand would be a valid comparison – but would lack the traffic to balance. Hence my GNCX concept, using ECML inner and outer suburbans to balance c2c services.


    DW down under

  217. Brock says:

    DW asked “Are there no services running KX-FP-Potters Bar-Hatfield-WGC-WN-Knebworth-Stevenage-Hitchin-Letchworth etc? They’d be 8-car I’d assume.”

    Yes but they are the _existing_ services which are as far as I can tell are planned to metamorphose into Thameslinks and consequently lose a lot of stops.

    So either we will need some extra KGX 4/8 car services to cover the gaps – or my concerns will turn out to be unfounded because 2 of the planned TL services will actually be extras but it hasn’t been made clear yet.

    And I’m afraid I did not become familiar with the service pattern until after electrification had been extended beyond Royston to Shepreth Branch Junction!

  218. Hertslad says:

    Current peak service sees 10tph outer suburbans: 2tph Cambridge fasts calling at LGC and Royston, most extending to the Fen Line, some are 12-car; 2tph ‘Royston semi-fasts’ calling at Stevenage and all stations bar Hitchin to Royston; 2tph Peterborough fasts calling at Hitchin St Neots and Huntingdon, some are 12-car; and 2tph Peterborough semi-fasts calling Stevenage and all stations to Peterborough, some 12-car. Then there’s the 2tph ‘outer suburban stopper’ calling at Hatfield and all stations to Cambridge.

    The latter service must remain 8-car due to WGC, but will have better-accelerating stock to handle Welwyn N problem. The Cambridge fasts will probably stay Class 365s due to need to divide for Fen Line services. Peterborough fasts too close to being intercity for Thameslink. That leaves Royston semi-fasts (presumably extended to Cambridge) and Peterborough semi-fasts for the 12-car Thameslink services. This is the same level of service as today, with more 12-car trains.

    Off-peak there’ll have to be larger changes to fit in all-day 12-car services, and which would mean an increase in frequency on the Cambridge branch at least. I imagine the 2tph Thameslink Royston semi-fasts extending to Cambridge will therefore be all-day trains; as would the 2tph Peterborough semi-fasts. The 2tph stopper service (which off-peak also calls at Potters Bar) I’d imagine would run to LGC, with 1tph extending to serve the 4-car-long stations between Royston and Cambridge.

  219. DW down under says:


    It would appear that Potters Bar has been downgrade during the peaks, with only all stopper services. Have I read your post correctly? If so, any idea why? Overloading on the semi’s perhaps?


    DW down under

  220. Jordan D says:

    I thought someone had mentioned it above, but can’t find it now – can someone explain why they’ve dug up half of the current Hornsey stabling yard and removed the track/wires from it? Is this a temporary thing?

  221. Arkady says:

    They are undertaking preparatory work for the new Thameslink depot. They need to rejig the tracks and other infrastructure south of Turnpike Lane, which is the work you are seeing now. There’s lots of details on this in the planning application, but it bored me to tears so I only know the gyst. At some point they will be temporarily closing the access to Hornsey station from Wightman Road as they have to replace the pedestrian bridge and its steel supports.

  222. Alex says:

    Residents around Hornsey station have been leafleted this week by the depot contractors, giving a list of closure dates for Turnpike Lane under the railway bridge and very complex diversions.

  223. Hertslad says:

    @DW – yes, Potters Bar only gets service on the inner suburbans during the peaks – which does include 2tph that are slightly faster, calling only at New Barnet, Oakleigh Park and New Southgate. Been that way as long as I can remember. Before 2009 these services continued past WGC, which is when Welwyn N had 4tph in the peaks. In the mornings Hatfield too is often skipped by trains from north of WGC – rather annoying when you need to change onto the slow trains and have to run across the bridge at WGC!

    @Jordan D, Alex: at the bridge under the railway at Hornsey there’s now big signs warning of upcoming overnight closures. There’s no road bridges either side for ages so it should be interesting. Think it’s only at night tho.

  224. Graham Feakins says:

    Returning to Finsbury Park and the Victoria Line works, BBC4 iPlayer has made available on its London Collections page “How They Dug the Victoria Line” (1969 – 40 mins.):

    Go in to about 17 mins. if short of time and see what they did to divert a Piccadilly Line tunnel at Finsbury Park laterally and vertically with a line block with no trains for just 15 hours. It’s a graphic demonstration of what Follenfant described in his book. Unfortunately, I think BBC4 only permits the film for UK viewing (sorry DW down under).

  225. DW down under says:

    Graham Feakins @
    07:12PM, 5th March 2013

    You’re right, Graham. If I wanted, I could try subscribing to the likes of or to the BBC’s global iPlayer, but I doubt whether that content would yet be available.

    Thanks for the thought!

    DW down under

  226. Stationless says:

    It looks as if somebody has already decided to start on an extension to the GN&CR:

  227. The other Paul says:

    Yes @Stationless, perhaps this is the “break through” we’ve been waiting for?

  228. Greg Tingey says:

    According to the published info …
    The drills (plural) were actually seen to break through, from the cab of the oncoming inspection train.

    The other Paul
    Seriously, it is just as well that the driver of the earlier train observed the running water (obviously from disturbance of the tunnel lining beofre the break-through occurred) then, & that services were halted.
    IIRC, wasn’t there something similar on the Central Line (?) last year, when another drilling auger broke through?
    And will we be so lucky next time, since this appears to be an increasing hazard, with deeper construction piling going on?

    I note that: “British Transport Police has visited an office construction site located above the tunnel.” (BBC London News)…. I think maybe we should be watching the court cases in the next few months?

  229. Slugabed says:

    The exemplary reaction of operating staff makes me concerned about plans to introduce driverless trains….

  230. Ian Sergeant says:

    What’s strange here is that the drill bits appear to have come in from the side – see here. No mention anywhere in the press of who the suspected culprit is, or what on earth they were trying to achieve.

  231. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian Sergeant
    No, that’s due to misinterpretation, I think.
    The auger-bitts will have come down from above, & probably hit the side of the tunnel. probably just above the centre-line ( i.e. approx 8-10 feet up from the track )
    However, as soon as they actually broke through, they would still be under heavy drilling power, but only engaging with anything solid on (part of) one side. The resulting off-centre torque would have, broken them off quite easily resulting in their fall on to the track-bad as seen in the pictures.
    What were they trying to do? Well, drill piling-holes for a new-construction building, obviously.
    Like I said earlier, a careful watch on the local court proceedings could be educational!

    Yes – like the case @ Finchley Road, last year, where a child fell “dahn th ‘ole”.
    [ Cue last track of “Disreali Gears” by “Cream” – which repeats a classic Music-Hall song … ]

  232. timbeau says:

    Greg 0851 – I don’t recall an incident last year, but there was one during surveying work for the A11/M11 link road somewhere near Gants Hill in which the drivers cab struck a protruding drill bit – I believe the train was a 1962 stock so it must have been at least 20 years ago.

  233. timbeau says:

    Supplementary – according to correspondednts over on District Dave, the Central Line incident happened in 1986 near Wanstead. The drill passed right through the driver’s cab, narrowly mssing the driver. The damage was such that the driver then had to drive the train to the next station from the rear cab, with the guard in the front as lookout, sending messages via a relay of passengers.

    The contractors, wondering where their drill had gone, sent a probe down the hole – which was hit (at much lower speed) by the next train, which was sent along empty to investigate – a similar situation to that at Old Street.

  234. Ian Sergeant says:

    If this has come from above, I’m genuinely shocked. Either people have been granted permission to drill too deep, or someone has drilled beyond what has been permitted. Time will tell.

  235. Greg Tingey says:

    Ian S
    It can’t have come from anywhere but “above” now, can it – do be realistic!
    However, as my badly misremembered date about the Central LIne incident shows, it’s only too possible.
    Whether off-limits “sideways” or too deep, I’m fairly sure BTPlod will be hoping to get the CPS to institute criminal proceedings against those responsible for this irresponsibility.

  236. Ian Sergeant says:

    It did indeed come from above. For those of you who haven’t seen it, read this.

  237. Snowy says:

    I love the final paragraph, they assumed it was a sewer beacuse there were no underground lines near by! Almost makes you think they were only looking at the tube map & didn’t check for other rail tunnels.

  238. DW down under says:

    And they’d done a test drill and found an obstacle at 14m. Rather than check, they just set the big guns blazing.

    As I said over at the “Crossrail gets its roundel” topic, it’s OK to drill into anything so long as you don’t drill into an LU tunnel! Let’s try HS1 and see what happens to your insurance premiums (premia?).

    Derbyshire’s best and brightest?

    DW down under

  239. Greg Tingey says:

    err …
    Meanwhile, we arediscussing (again) what makes a suitable London rail map, elsewhere on this blog, are we not?
    Oh dearie dearie me

  240. Ian Sergeant says:


    Very good point, but the London Borough of Hackney cannot remain blameless on this matter. The existence of a line on a topological map would help the average punter to realise that there is a daytime line from Moorgate to Finsbury Park, but the councils should be working with physical maps to ensure this sort of farce does not happen again. Nowhere on the planning application here is the railway below mentioned.

  241. DW down under says:

    Ah, Greg

    You’ve just reminded me. Down Under we have a “Dial before you Dig” line. It’s number is 1100 and it’s national.

    Does the UK now have anything as “catchy” to provide underground hazard information? I don’t recall anything from my days in Britian.

    DW down under

  242. ngh says:

    Re Snowy 07:17AM, 15th March 2013

    It does indeed unfortunately sound that bad, also interesting to know that the “North London” developer had obviously never used public transport that much and seemed unaware that there were tunnels underneath as well.
    If the developer wants to resume building he would probably only be allowed to pile to 10m which might mean taking a floor or 2 of the top (depending on site geology) and wipe the developers profit for the project.

    “We had planned to build a residential development on the site, but obviously everything has been suspended.”

    The lawyers will enjoy this one as I suspect the developer will also go after the conveying solicitor for not pointing out there was rail tunnel underneath when they purchased the site.

    Given the amount of water did they hit a sewer as well?

    I suspect NR may need to be a bit more proactive about listing / reminding which properties are above tunnels rather than just assuming developers check or ask NR.

  243. Anonymous says:

    @DW down under 09:59AM,
    “You’ve just reminded me. Down Under we have a “Dial before you Dig” line”

    I don’t think they were planning to dig that far down!

  244. DW down under says:

    Anonymous @
    10:52AM, 15th March 2013 wrote:

    ” @DW down under 09:59AM,
    “You’ve just reminded me. Down Under we have a “Dial before you Dig” line”

    I don’t think they were planning to dig that far down!”

    Really!? Then why did they have a pile drilling contractors, a Derbyshire Specialist at that, on site – and why did the pile driving contractor drill test bores to 20m down?

    Seems to me Britain, with a whole heap more subterranean infrastructure than Oz, really does need to take a leaf out of the colonial’s book and establish a dedicated and easily accessed “what’s down under?” resource!!! 🙂

    DW down under

  245. Anonymous says:

    DW – “Really!? – they were driling 20m”

    Sorry, my intention was a facetious suggestion that an Antipodean helpline might become useful if they went a further 12,999,980 metres or so

  246. DW down under says:

    Anonymous @
    08:29AM, 16th March 2013 responded:

    “DW – “Really!? – they were driling 20m”

    Sorry, my intention was a facetious suggestion that an Antipodean helpline might become useful if they went a further 12,999,980 metres or so”

    Oh, oops! I missed your smiley!!!! Yes indeed, it would take more than a bunch a yahoo Derbyshire “specialists” to get THAT far. 🙂


  247. DW down under says:

    For those who are interesed, some further discussion arising from the GN&C extension idea has occurred over at District Dave’s. In essence the discussion has swung around to a GE (@ Liverpool St) to Blackfriars terminal bays link, we have dubbed TL2.

    DW down under

  248. Ian Sergeant says:

    Given the amount of water, did they hit a sewer as well?

    I doubt it. I watched the piling of the Montcalm Signature Tower 100m or so away. There was a need to pump out a lot of water simply because (I assume) of the level of the water table.

  249. stimarco says:

    @Ian Sergeant & ngh:

    Some piling rigs pump a fluid down the hole to the drill head when working, depending on the rig’s design and expected geology. (The fluid helps to cool the drill head and can also make the surrounding soil easier to work with.)

    It’s likely the first driver saw some of this fluid coming through the roof.

  250. MikeP says:

    This and the Central Line incident are by no means the only occasion that critical infrastructure has been taken out by a misplaced piling drive:

    From my memory, some broadband users quite some way to the north (like the north Midlands) were affected by this. Took out London City Airport’s IT too, rendering the airport pretty much inoperable (a good thing, some might say, but also a lesson to all those who think that “Cloud Computing” is A Brilliant Idea).

    There was a piccy of it somewhere on the Interwebs, didn’t squirrel the link away. Sob.

  251. MikeP says:

    Ah, found the piccy. Just as well that didn’t go through the Moorgate tunnel…..

    It took days to fix – nearly 2000 fibres were taken out. The whole sorry saga is documented in classic El Reg style via

  252. Graham Feakins says:

    On the Old Street/Essex Road ‘diversion’, the RAIB is now seized of this matter and there is quite an informative photo and preliminary description here:

  253. Anonymous says:

    Hertslad: I think your Cambridge tables are pretty badly out. 2tph (x15 and x45 ex KGX) run fast to Cambridge — specially noted on boards as ‘The Cambridge Express’ — of which one (x45) is extended up the Fen Line to King’s Lynn. 1tph (x53) runs semi-fast to Cambridge (Finsbury Park, Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth GC, Baldock, Royston) and 1tph (x06) runs super-slow (fast Finsbury Park to Potters Bar, then all stations north of there). It’s a pretty whacking difference in journey time; the fasts are 45min, ~1h for semi-fast, and 1h20 for slows.

    Moorgate/NCL gets stoppers to Letchworth via the Hertford Loop, as well as slow trains to Welwyn GC up the ECML. And then there’s Greater Anglia up the WAML, but that’s not really a serious Cambridge option, coming in at nearly double the overall London/Cambridge journey time.

  254. Anonymous says:

    Note that the x06 slow will only be shown on departure boards as Foxton. It continues past Foxton to Cambridge, but is overtaken by the x15 en route, so isn’t advertised as going to Cambridge to reduce confusion. The x53 narrowly beats the x15, however.

  255. Anonymous says:

    Seems TFL websitte still has original plans leaflet which shows that work was due to start in 2009 and be complete in 2013 !

    This has a clearer picture of work planned and begs the question of how different cost starting now will be than had plan gone ahead in 2009!?

  256. Hertslad says:

    @anonymous 24 July, yes the off-peak service is as you describe, but I was describing the peak service, when the Cambridge Express makes extra calls, there are two trains running to ‘Foxton’ via Welwyn Garden City, and also two ‘Royston semi-fasts’ non-stopping from Finsbury to Stevenage. Your dreaded xx06 doesn’t exist in peak hours!

    Regarding FP, the spiral staircases from NR to the tube are being closed from this month until Spring 2014, which is going to cause complete chaos. I guess it’s to work on opening the second spirals, but it’s a shame they couldn’t have waited until the third passageway was complete before starting this work, as that would have provided a slightly better access route, particularly in the northbound direction which currently has a very roundabout alternative route. The ‘new’ platform is shaping up nicely though, with some surprisingly sensitive brick structures built and what looks like a fairly expansive roof taking shape – was pleasantly surprised!

  257. Arkady says:

    I asked First Capital Connect about the national rail part of the step-free access plans:

    “Thank you for getting in touch about Finsbury Park station.

    The new platform at Finsbury Park will be in service on December 2013. There is a passenger lift being installed on the this platform only at present, this is due to compliance with government legislation. However, this lift will not be in passenger service until other platforms have lifts.

    Consultations are taking place with Transport For London, Network Rail, and other stake holders with regards to lifts on platforms 3&4, 5&6, 7&8, and the footbridge plans. Unfortunately, we have no specific dates when these are to be completed. ”

    I’m still finding hard to work out where exactly that footbridge will go.

  258. Dirk says:

    I’m rather interested in the original plans of the GNR (later LNER) station. So before 1938/39 when the demolition started of, amongst others, the facade at Station Road (now Station place). Does anyone know if the original plans for the GNR station still exist and where to find them? The National Railway Museum, Network Rail and Islington Gov. couldn’t help me in this.

  259. Pedantic of Purley says:

    If you are that interested and are willing to spend the time (for possibly no result) the other place you could try is the National Archives at Kew. A lot of stuff you would have thought would be at the National Railway Museum is actually located there.

  260. Graham Feakins says:

    @ Dirk – Or you could try the Network Rail Media Storehouse to look for the plans.

    Ask the Archivist [mailto:[email protected]]

    It costs to purchase the prints but its worth it if you are really interested. I did it for Peckham Rye.

  261. Lemmo says:

    Dirk, I have a detailed LNER plan of the proposed New Works Program alterations from Drayton Park through Finsbury Park and on to Stroud Green. It’s a post in the making, as at some point they will have to bite the bullet and rebuild Finsbury Park, and what emerges may turn out to be similar to the pre-WWII plans, with the station widened on the east side.

    If you need the plans urgently please drop us a message with your email and I’ll send them on.

  262. Hotgolfer says:

    The introduction suggests that a significant increase in services for the Hertford loop is envisaged with the improvements. However, the latest timetable published from 8th December 2013 shows no improvements in services for the Hertford loop, especially for the weekday peak periods. Is this because work is not yet finished on the upgrade between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace? Can we expect more services in the peak next year? I’m surprised by the lack of any progress with the December timetable, does anyone know what’s going on?

  263. Arkady says:

    The new platforms are meant to be in service from December, but works on the one at FP and track works between FP and AP are still ongoing. While they do intend to use the new line and platforms for existing services, I’m not sure there is a fixed plan to increase services before 2018.

  264. Paul says:

    I’d assumed the ‘significant increase in services’ is associated with the Thameslink timetable alterations…

  265. Arkady says:

    That’s been my assumption too. The RUS suggest that the option of increased services will be there, but there has been no indication that it will happen beforeh the Big Thameslink Reshuffle in 2018.

  266. Ian Sergeant says:

    When I changed at Finsbury Park on Friday, work was being done to test the next train indicators. I’ve no experience in these matters, but that feels like an operational acceptance test to me, and thus I don’t see any reasons why the platforms won’t be ready for the new timetable on 08/12. As for the track works, I can’t comment.

  267. Arkady says:

    The tracks were absolutely crawling with workers between Hornsey Depot and Finsbury Park station on Sunday. The FP platforms look near completion.

    Oddly, I’m receiving reports that the step-free plans have been indefinitely delayed again. Anyone heard anything about this?

  268. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Arkady – re step free plans. It may be me adding 2 plus 2 and getting 5 but the project details for Finsbury Park have been removed from the TfL “Projects and Schemes” page on their website. This is a bit surprising for a multi million pound scheme that was approved. There has also been negligible reference to the project in quarterly TfL investment reports. I wonder if the wider part of the scheme has been put on hold given the double spiral stairs are being done. I also wonder if something has happened to the nearby development and how it relates to the “T junction” provisions? The property aspects were, IIRC, subject to negotiation and final agreement so if that’s run into issues then the rest of the scheme may not work. All speculation though – no facts.

  269. Arkady says:

    I’m thinking along the same lines. The City North project seems to be barrelling along, but I can’t see relevant planning permission updates, or a separate one for the station itself (I’d expect to see one for the new passenger bridge).
    Lots of stakeholders here. Hopefully just a delay until everything is straightened out. It would be embarrassing for them to have to leave the new lift shaft unused.

  270. Hotgolfer says:

    Well, I am a bit disappointed (but not surprised) that any improvement in the Hertford Loop services may not take place until 2018, if at all. Even then, emphasis I’m sure will be on the Thameslink service. I have a horrible feeling that Joe Public waiting for a train at Enfield Chase will not benefit when he travels into and out of work. Why does it always seem the case that initial promises and hopes always melt away with the realities of our fragile transport system?

  271. Hotgolfer says:


    And, I think your assertion in the lead,

    “the segregation of suburban services between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace will allow a near-doubling of the number of trains per hour on the Hertford Loop”

    is now looking both fanciful and misleading?

  272. Arkady says:

    I don’t think you need be so pessimistic. Read the latest ECML article for details are rather promising service improvements:

  273. Hotgolfer says:

    Thanks for that.

    I may be a little confused. When referring to the ‘Hertford Loop’ I presume this is specifically the service only via Hertford North to Moorgate? At the moment (and also from the 8th December timetable) we only have eight trains per hour in the peak hours 7.00am-9.00am (and those only from Gordon Hill to Moorgate), and the same in the peak hours in the evening from Moorgate back to Gordon Hill. I wish we had the twelve trains per hour as mentioned in the other article, let alone fifteen!

  274. Greg Tingey says:

    The problem is probably the unduly-restrictive operating conditions set @ the Moorgate terminus, after the 1975 crash, caused, actually by LUL’s gross incompetence. [ No “fixed” train-stop in advance of a solid wall! ]
    Now, there is not only a slow-approach scissors crossover at the entrance to the station, but the trains cannot approach at all at above that speed & creep down the platforms.
    So, although Brixton can manage 30 tph, Moorgate can only manage about half that, and no-one seems to have the “bottle” to even try to change matters for the better. Even after 38 years, & even with modern TPWS precautions, which should make such things a lot easier.

  275. @Greg,

    The problem is probably the unduly-restrictive operating conditions set @ the Moorgate terminus, after the 1975 crash, caused, actually by LUL’s gross incompetence. [ No “fixed” train-stop in advance of a solid wall! ]

    Yet again you are throwing around accusations without justification that quite frankly I find disturbing. Apart from hindsight being a wonderful thing, at the time nobody dreamed that such a precaution was necessary and although there had been couple of warning incidents these took place in sidings where it was thought that the driver got confused – which surely wouldn’t have happened at and in any case would be irrelevant at a station. There was never any suggestion at the time that London Transport (LUL did not exist then) was in any way at fault. Risk analysis was not developed to the extent it is today and it could argued that this was one of the events that helped lead to the idea that risks, how ever unlikely, must be assessed rather than just relying on the past to identify what was high risk.

    Funnily enough your comment shows another aspect of the problem – the risk, if it had been thought about at all, would have been perceived to be very low but the major inconvenience of the mitigation measures necessary would have had great consequences – possibly to the effect of adversely affecting the economy of London. In the same way that, if you read between the lines in the railway accident reports over the years, it is clear that for many years the Railway Inspectorate allowed safety compromises at Borough Market Junction because they knew if they insisted on strictly applying the standards of the day capacity would be greatly reduced with a serious impact on the economy of the city.

    If you are going to blame the company running the tubes at the time then in all fairness you should also apply it to British Rail and just about every underground system in the world at that time because none of them considered this a risk that needed to be mitigated against. Indeed this terrible accident, generally regarded as unforeseeable, had ramifications throughout the world.

    Finally, you persist in throwing around these accusations on a regular basis without bother to justify them or show your reasoning. I have commented on this before and do not like this website being used as an opportunity for you to believe you can throw out accusations all over the place against people or organisations that realistically do not have a right of reply. I don’t like censorship but I don’t like gross misuse of the comment facility either. This has happened in the past and is continuing and is liable in future to cause comments to be deleted.

  276. Arkady says:

    @Hotgolfer – yes, you are quite right. The doubling of capacity is in the stretch between AP and FP, not on the entirety of the Hertford Loop. The Loop will see considerable improvements in its peak and off-peak services from 2018, but as argued in the later article that isn’t sufficient to make the most of the line’s potential. It’s fair to say that my understanding of Network Rail’s plans was only partial at the point that I wrote the Finsbury Park article. The ECML Part 2 article does a rather better job, I hope.

    @Pedantic – what a wonderful example of best practice on LR – a calm, measured, accurate, logical and well-evidence comment trumping a shrill, irrational and inaccurate one.

  277. Hotgolfer says:

    @Arkady – many thanks for that.

    To be fair, the 8th December timetable does have a couple of improvements in the peak periods. There is one service Moorgate bound (Stevenage 08:34) which is now 6 carriages instead of 3, and conversely the 17:13 Moorgate service to Gordon Hill is also 6 carriages instead of 3. I know there were complaints about this so at least this issue has been sorted. So this means all peak services are 6 carriages. There is also apparently one additional peak evening service out of Moorgate, just before 18:00, but having tried to look at the new timetable again it isn’t loading for some reason, so can’t confirm the exact time and destination.

    So there are some minor improvements, which is better than none at all. I guess patience is required to see if further services may be added in coming years.

  278. Arkady says:

    Others will be more qualified than me to comment on this, but I know that the current timetable suffers from ‘flighting’, i.e. there are irregular gaps due to conflicts between FP and AP. The constraints having been remedied by segregation, there is now room to remedy the flighting issues given sufficient stock.

    As someone who 2-3 times a week arrives at Hi&I on the northbound Victoria Line between 17:30 and 18:00 looking to cross over to the NCL, I can confirm that there is an irritating gap before 18:00 that, if remedied, would make a lot of customers happy.

  279. Greg Tingey says:

    I remember the Moorgate crash only too well.
    My then wife would normally have been in the front of that train … but was late in that day!
    When I heard of the crash, my instant reaction at the time was … “The trip-cocks/brakes didn’t work? Wtf?”
    And LT had been warned. They had already had two (?) end-wall collisions where fixed tripcocks had not been fitted – in fact they had not fitted fixed tripcocks at dead-ends at all.
    So I disagree, vehemently, the precaution should have been necessary & thought of …..
    So, NOT a allegation “just thrown around”.
    … “inconvenience of mitigation measures” Really? A fixed tripcock, a carriage-length from the wall? Bolted to the track? Neither expensive, nor difficult.
    There were, even then, places where “dead-end” approach controls were applied, or expected to be applied – & I’m not talking about the then, surprisingly common buffer-stop over-runs at termini. I remember a case at Manchester Central, where the W H Smith’s newspaper shed ended up with a “Peak” (Sulzer type 4) shaped hole in it, for instance!

    As stated, I was somewhat concerned, at the time, for close personal reasons, as for similar reasons, I have a close interest in the “Aldgate” train-bomb of 7/7/2005. I have taken an interest in the case & reject your allegations in their entirety

    [ Personally, I suspect the driver went into “fugue” & didn’t realise where he was, or had a temporary seizure that didn’t show up in the post-mortem, given how long it took to get his squashed remains out. ]
    Other question, that never seems to be asked, & IIRC, wasn’t asked much/was played down at the time … “Why didn’t the guard just open his brake-pipe, given the approach speed?”
    Unanswered questions will always remain.

    Arkady & Hotgolfer
    I wonder if the idea is to make the Hertford loop part of CR2 – which would certainly up the capacity ??

  280. @Greg,

    I mentioned the two collisions and explained why they were different and thought to have no bearing on the situation.

    Other question, that never seems to be asked, & IIRC, wasn’t asked much/was played down at the time … “Why didn’t the guard just open his brake-pipe, given the approach speed?”
    Unanswered questions will always remain.

    There you go again. It is not an unanswered question at all. It was featured in the accident report and it was answered.
    Why try to create an air of mystery when there is none?

    From memory the accident report stated that the guard would not have had much time to react from the moment that even an experienced guard would have realised something was wrong. But, if I recall correctly, the guard had only been a guard for a few weeks. Also the inspector raised some doubt about the dedication to his job as a guard. Again, this has to be seen in the context of the time. Due to an earlier pay freeze by Ted Heath (in reality unenforceable in the private sector which just re-categorised jobs to make comparision impossible), London Transport was struggling with recuitment and if you had a pulse and weren’t too incompetent you got the job (it took me on!). So standards were inevitably low as we had left the era of dedicated job-for-life railwaymen and weren’t yet in the era of consistent decent pay coupled with investment and use of technology to enforce safety by other means.

  281. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Arkady / Hotgolfer – looking at the new table 24 for Moorgate services it shows a consistent 5 minute peak headway out of Moorgate in the PM peak. There is a 1758 semi fast to Hertford followed by a 1803 all stations to Hertford. There are Welwyn GC trains either side of these two.

  282. Hotgolfer says:

    @Walthamstow Writer – yes thanks for that.

    I’ve been able to take another look at the new timetable, the additional evening service is the Moorgate 18:38 for Gordon Hill, so it’s not before 18:00 but after. Strangely, in the introduction (Page 2) the MD David Statham suggests there are two additional evening services from Moorgate to Gordon Hill, the 17:13 and the 18:38, but the 17:13 is already present in the current timetable?

    Why there is an additional evening service out of Moorgate on the Hertford Loop, but no additional service on the inward morning route does seem a bit strange to me.

    So yes the five minute phasing includes Welwyn trains, essentially 12 tph. It’s been stated in the article by Arkady that 15tph is the tops under current rules. So presumably I may be right in saying that three additional trains are possible, with also possible revisions in distribution between Hertford Loop and Welwyn trains. All assuming of course the upgrade between Finsbury Park and Alexandra Palace is fully in place to allow this. The potential capacity is clearly there – it’s just when will it be operational?

  283. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Reading your comments again I presume you mean a fixed trainstop beyond the normal stopping place of the train. I really cannot see how that would have made the slightest difference at Moorgate. By the time it would have had any effect the train would already be in the sand drag. Incidently the sand drag did operate the train stop if I recall correctly but really it was far, far too late by then – even to provide any significant reduction of speed. To be of any use at that sort of speed it needed to be well down the platform which means it couldn’t be a fixed trainstop.

    Back to my original point, its not the subject you raise but the way that you raise it. Instead of raising the issue as to whether LT were in some way at fault for not anticipating such a possible scenario you go like a bull in a china shop and unfairly throw around accusations without any justification and just assume that your interpretation of events is correct and the only way it can be seen. I understand that you may feel emotionally involved about this particular case but surely that is all the more reason to accept that your judgement may be less than perfect in the circumstances and to tread cautiously.


    Being very out of my area I am not that familiar with the Great Northern service to Moorgate but it does seem from other comments made here and elsewhere that whereas LU will strive for maximum frequencies and equally spaced trains – even if it means the whole line is running behind the timetable – it is different on the upstairs railway (which is below stairs at this point) and Network Rail + the TOCs are anxious that some service recovery is built-in where possible.

    It is not clear whether 15tph is the maximum possible or the maximum thought to be sustainable. Either way you still have the issue of how quickly trains can arrive and depart at Moorgate. 15tph equates to an 8 minutes between departures on each platform and 12tph equates to 10 minutes. I am not sure if ERMTS or ATO would help much in getting this below 8 minutes although maybe 7½ minutes (16tph) is achievable. I can just see us getting into the same sort of argument about tphpp (trains per hour per platform) that we did over terminating at Moorgate (Northern Line) during the Bank closure. It is probably going to critically depend on how fast a train can go over the crossover and how far the crossover is located from the end of the platforms.

    Even if the trains were available and could be timetabled I think that there might be a reluctance to run them if it meant removing some of the slack available in the service pattern to recover from minor perturbations.

  284. Greg Tingey says:

    PoP I was wondering about a fixed, bolted tripcock, about half-a coach before the normal stop-end – given the way a tripcocked train slams the brakes on, I think it would have saved a few lives.
    You are correct re the guard, though, I remember now … that he was inexperienced.

  285. @Greg,

    I suspect you are right. Taking it a step further one could probably have justified making the trains a carriage shorter and giving some kind of stopping margin as happens today even on ATO lines – except the Waterloo & City of course which always seems to be different. Although the front carriages were crowded the rear ones were practically empty.

    But the point is that it just seems so obvious in hindsight. It was a different world then with different attitudes. And one attitude was the idea of preventing the mistakes of the past – not to consider too much something that might conceivably happen but thought incredibly unlikely. To paraphrase, one cannot look at 20th century events through 21st century spectacles.

  286. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ PoP – I do not use the GN into Moorgate very much these days but did regularly in the 80s and then later when I was based at Old St (before it became trendy). From memory the speed over the crossover is not high and I think it is quite a constrained location meaning it will take some work to raise run in, run out and turn round times in this area to improve throughput. Whether a business case could be constructed for such work, given the prevailing demand trend on that route has been reported as downwards, must be open to question. Perhaps the advent of Crossrail at Moorgate creating new links and an all week service might reverse that trend? Perhaps having a franchisee that does not take the First Group approach to obtaining blood from a stone might raise quality and bring in some investment? We shall have to wait and see.

  287. Taz says:

    Re Moorgate 1975. LU had no policy of protecting dead ends, since why would a driver risk his safety? But they had speed-control signalling to prevent overruns of junction home signals in cramped conditions, eg Whitechapel, Edgware Road, Baker Street, etc. On Baker Street plats 2, 3, 5 but not on plats 1 & 4. Why the double standard?

  288. Pedantic of Purley says:


    Because it is easy to get confused at junction and misjudge your speed or misread a signal. Or make a mistake judging your stopping distance in the gloom of the tunnel. Or even think you are a different junction. There are plenty of railway accident reports to show that this is the case. But tube drivers drive into stations all day every day and there was no history of them overrunning any station at speed let alone a terminal one. So, the argument would have gone (if it had been thought about at all, why protect against something that doesn’t happen?

    Remember this wasn’t just London Transport’s thinking – it was worldwide. Even on British Rail and other railways which sometimes had the additional variable of wet rails it was just presumed that drivers would stop at the end of the platform. It’s what they do. Even if they misjudge it they have a very powerful emergency brake to get them out of trouble. No-one in the darkest recesses of their mind imagined that there would be a situation where the driver just carried on at full speed into a terminal platform.

  289. Taz says:

    @ Pedantic of Purley 23:44, 28 November 2013 I think you start with an arguement for protection of terminals! There is plenty of history of trains over-running stations, but the signalling prevents them hitting any train beyond. Why were Baker Street 2 & 3 protected, but Baker 1 & 4 not? They were at risk of the same errors.

  290. Why were Baker Street 2 & 3 protected, but Baker 1 & 4 not? They were at risk of the same errors.

    Yes to some extent it is illogical. But then when one looks at the consequences of a short low speed overrun I imagine that it was considered that the worst that would happen at platforms 1 & 4 was a minor prang with the buffers. Whereas at platforms 2 & 3 the train could side-swipe an eastbound train killing passengers inside and derailing the train which could then be hit by a westbound train causing further fatalities.

    The minor prang was a small price to pay as protection would have forced the trains to enter the platform slowly and possibly add a minute to the minimum time for a turnround. If one remembers there was a fuss a few years ago when TPWS was introduced at terminal platforms causing trains to enter platforms ridiculously slowly. I think they have eased the restrictions a bit since then.

    I think attitudes have changed a lot. In the past I think it was acceptable (4-EPB days) for the train to “nudge” the buffers. Certainly judging by the grease marks that were present on the buffer stops at various south London main line termini it could not have been a rare occurrence. I believe such an incident must now be report to the Railway Accident Investigations Board regardless of how minor the incident is. As a contrast I thought I once read that at one platform at Holborn Viaduct the driver was expected to have actually make contact with the buffers because clearance at the points at the other end was so tight. From memory, which may be faulty, platform 4 at Beckenham Junction often had a train right up against the buffers.

    You could also consider one of my favourite signalling subjects – trap points. Surely in one sense these are the most illogical things imaginable? A set of points designed to deliberately derail a train whereas it is quite probable that if they hadn’t have been there no damage would have occurred and there would have been no casualties. Its all down to considering the risk of something happening and consequences of that happening. But I think it was Mark Townend who pointed out that trap points were sometimes located so that actually the consequences of a train being “protected” were pretty dire like being sent off down an embankment – as I have witnessed, twice, at Hayes. So clearly there were some decisions and regulations that with the benefit of hindsight were a bit potty.

    Sorry but can’t resist linking again to an example of trap points in action. I think you can take it I am not a fan of kettles.

  291. Taz says:

    Re Moorgate 1975: The driver failed so why didn’t the guard stop the train? I don’t recall LU guards having any duties between stations, whilst drivers had no duties whilst stopped at stations, so the two jobs merged well into one. Guard’s were provided with a pull-down seat, so the guard could have been perched on that, and in any case would have been waiting to see which side the Moorgate platform was depending upon the signalman’s preference. The guard would have no idea where the train was until it started to slow for the next station. With no slowing, the first he would have known that Moorgate approached was when he was thrown across the car as it crossed from the southbound line to the northbound platform at full speed. He then had to recover his wits and balance to reach for the emergency brake handle by about which time the front of the train hit the tunnel end and threw him from his feet. Maybe this particular guard was inexperienced and less than dedicated, but the most effective guard would have had trouble making any difference to the impact speed that day.

    What is perhaps more surprising is that not one of the regular commuters in the first half of the train pulled one of the many passenger emergency alarm handles, when they could at least have slowed the collision speed. The first they would have known anything out of the ordinary was when they were thrown around as their car crossed from the southbound line to the northbound platform at full speed. However, they had the full platform length to realise that something was wrong and to pull the stop handle. Some would have been unaware of stop handles, some were far from the doorways, but there must have been many aware of the crisis who did nothing. Did they all wait for someone else to do something? Railway Inspectorate report at:

  292. Greg Tingey says:

    You are correct about “buffering up” – though, in such cases, the approach speed (for the last few feet) was very slow indeed – the driver would put the EP brake on, & ease it on the valve at the last moment, to a creep-speed.
    IIRC, & looking at an old diagram, I think it was pfs 2 (& 3) that were really tight.
    Kettles are nothing to do with it – a stupid & inattentive driver/fireman is another story. Should watch the signals!

    You forget … that, in a crisis (as opposed to a “confrontation”, where things build up gradually) … most people simply “freeze”. Overcoming this is, I’m told, one of the reasons for & basics of any military training.
    Example – about 9 years back, I was approaching my local Sainsburys, and an elderly woman was just drawing money from the ATM. A “hoodie” just behind her, reached over, grabbed the money, pushed her over & ran …
    I reacted, instantly, but was too far away ( about 5 metres) .. by the time I was accelerated he was away round the corner, &, of course, not carrying any bags or rucksack, as I was. There were at least 5 or 6 people within a metre of this thief … who just stood there, with their mouths open. All it needed was for ONE of them to stick a foot out, or a hand to grab, but that didn’t happen.
    So: Did they all wait for someone else to do something? Yes, exactly.
    There’s a downside to this, of course – suppose your “instant” reaction is wrong?

  293. Hotgolfer says:

    Talking of increased capacity to Moorgate. Perhaps it was mentioned elsewhere but it’s also occured to me that there is obviously ‘finite’ constraints on rolling stock for Moorgate. The particular 313 being a ‘special beast’ I wonder if this is also an issue?

    Given this I wonder really if the long term plan must be to replace the 313s post-2018 (they will be 40 years old by 2018, being introduced in 1978), and that the capacity/rolling stock issue will be addressed at the same time. I can certainly envisage of all this, so that really anything provided in terms of increased capacity until at least 2018 or later will be only ‘plastering over the cracks’.

  294. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Greg is absolutely right (worrying trend agreeing with him). I defy the average person to react in such a fashion. It is why you have to tell people specifically: If A happens you should pull the alarm, if B happens don’t pull the alarm etc. It helps stop the “what should I do ?” period of delay. The only way the average person would react quickly is:

    – if they are a person confident in making such decisions


    -either they have been trained to react to such an incident which is why the army trains and trains and trains
    – they know the signs to look for so that they anticipate that the incident may happen. Then it is not an instant decision but one that they have gone through in their head in advance and are merely acting it out.

    To emphasise the point someone said there was no-one on a station to seek help and talk was of the DLR. But on the DLR there are emergency help points linked to operators who can see the platform on camera and is in direct contact with BTP and can call an ambulance if necessary or even potentially delay a train and have it met by police if the miscreant is thought to be aboard. Although this is all there the biggest problem is getting people to realise they must push the button and communicate. Even people who see it every day may never think of using it.

  295. timbeau says:

    “313s …..will be 40 years old by 2018, being introduced in 1978”

    They’re older than that – they started operating on the Northern City Line in August 1976

  296. ngh says:

    Re Hot Golfer 09:19, 29 November 2013

    The “missing” 19 313s will return from southern (the ex overground and silverlink ones) during the next franchise which solves the rolling stock constraint.

    There is the potential option for the 313s to be replaced under the TSGN franchise that is currently out for tender but that is fairly unlikely…

    The TSGN franchise is due to end in 2022 so any replacement is likely to happen after that unless a bidder can work some miracles…)

    See the current discussions on ECML branches 2 thread:

  297. Hotgolfer says:


    That is very good news re rolling stock!


    Crickey, I’m sure you’re right! I used them travelling to school for A-levels and 1978 seemed to stick in my mind for some reason.

  298. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Arkady – In the latest papers for the Projects and Planning Panel there is a paper requesting additional authority for Finsbury Park. After what seems to have been an age there is now some progress about the wider project to install lifts, open up a disused corridor, provided ticket gates and the new Western Ticket Hall.

    It seems agreement has been reached with the developer and LU has sorted out its scope for the new ticket hall. Costs have gone up but savings elsewhere have provided the funding. The full authority has not yet been sought so I expect we will see further approval papers. Completion is expected in 2018.

  299. Arkady says:

    Thanks WW, that’s a great spot. It’s been whispered before that the delays were due to protracted negotiations on issues of planning detail and funding between TfL and the City North Developer. I will keep my eye out for an updated planning application being submitted to LB Islington. That will presumably be necessary, as the updated plans supposedly involve scrapping the Wells Terrace entrance altogether, whereas the granted permission retained it.

    Work seems to have gone relatively quiet on City North, perhaps they are waiting for this to be resolved. The decision about Wells Terrace and the connecting passageway is pretty fundamental to the City North groundworks.

    Interestingly, some structural work to shore up the FP ‘T-junction’ was undertaken over the festive break, and I wonder whether this was connected in any way.

    The document that you link to has been ‘approved by the commissioner’. What are the following stages in final approval?

  300. Arkady says:

    I have rediscovered the 2008 plans. I can’t get the link to work, but it’s Islington planning ref P080346 if anyone’s interested.


    The new plans will feature the Western Ticket Hall (connecting to or near the ‘T-Junction’ in the bottom left of the diagrams). The entire corridor and Wells Terrace entrance (top left) may be demolished.

  301. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Arkady – I’d heard something similar about the negotiations with the developers but wasn’t sure about the exact reasons. You’ve clearly got your ear closer to the ground than me in terms of the revised possible scope. Removing part of the link corridor is pretty revolutionary and clearly would increase the size of any new ticket hall as much more footfall would be routed through it thus requiring far more ticket gates. I assume the design will have to allow for people walking through from Seven Sisters Rd with them being routed through the new ticket hall and then into whatever is in the ground floor level of City North and through to Wells Terrace. The eventual design and flow patterns through the station are going to be interesting. I guess the design will also be a foretaste of revised standards that don’t require ticket offices (depending on whether the Wells Tce office closes). It’s possible all of this explains the reference to “revised operational needs” in the paper.

    One thing you can’t ascertain from those drawings is whether the new lifts are just LU platform to ticket hall level or whether they continue to NR level. There will undoubtedly be plenty of demands from politicians for the station to be made fully accessible so I wonder if there is any co-ordination with Network Rail / DfT about covering the link up to the NR platforms? Clearly there are only two lifts shown whereas you’d need three to get to each of the island platforms for NR services.

    In terms of project approval this is usually determined by the authority being sought at a point in time. However a paper may be required to go further up the approval levels to the one where final approval would be sought so those on that body get to see the project at an earlier stage and can ask the necessary questions before a lot of money is committed. Under Standing Orders it is possible for approval to be granted by named individuals such as the Commissioner as he has expenditure approval authority. He also has procurement authority too as do certain other senior people. If an urgent decision is needed then it is possible to “short cut” the normal process but there has to be a compelling reason to do this – just being late is not a valid reason, more a guarantee of questions about your competence. If there was a time constraint related to finalising the development agreement that required TfL to commit to some expenditire then I could see why the Commissioner might be asked to sign off. TfL publish the Standing Orders on their website if you want some guaranteed “put you to sleep” reading. 🙂

  302. AlisonW says:

    If the plan includes “scrapping the Wells Terrace entrance altogether” you can expect local press and residents to be up in arms. There is a bus station that side of the tracks too, and I doubt that people would be happy at the idea of having to walk the long way round (especially in the weather we’ve had lately!).

    As an occasional user of the 210 to Finsbury Park, I’d be one of them.

  303. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Alison W – I would guess that there will still be a link to Wells Terrace but routed via the new westernt ticket hall and the new development round to the bus station. I doubt distances will be vary much from using the existing busy link corridor. I cannot see TfL / LU wanting to force people to walk into Station Place and under the railway bridge to Wells Terrace. That would be very unpopular and for good reason. It would also count as a passenger disbenefit in the business case for the work and one which is avoidable.

    The other concern is whether the link from Seven Sisters to Wells Terrace is maintained during those hours when the tube station is open. This is why I am intrigued to see what the revised layout plan looks like. Forcing people to walk round from Seven Sisters Rd in the cold and wet will not be popular at all.

  304. Greg Tingey says:

    WW / Alison
    It is well to remember the awful precedent of the Walthamstow Central goods yard re-development under Railtrack.
    An essential condition of the contract was that a pedestrian link between the two stations was to be not merely preserved, but improved. ( At that time it was a simple set of steps with a single lamp at the top! ) The developer took no notice whatsoever. This was in approx 1996 (or 7) After 15 years, & a very protracted set of court-cases, we were promised a re-opened entrance/passage in April 2013, then August 2013, then the Dec 2013 tt-change.
    Half of it is now ready for use, but still blocked off. Work appears/may be proceeding at the bottom of WC’s car-park.

    In the meantime, why would someone want to close off a presumably public right-of-way along the NE side of FP station?
    The disbenefit is so obvious, one suspects that public outrage would be enormous, if this sort of stupidity was allowed to go forward.

  305. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – Sorry but you have no evidence that the saga of Walthamstow is to be visited upon F Park. We only have some speculation about what might happen to the corridor and we do not have a reworked, up to date plan. Stupidly I added to the speculation by joining in the discussion. I should know better!

    The link corridor is not, to the best of my knowledge, any sort of right of way – it’s on private property and LU closes it every night and it’s been closed several times recently while work was done. Before we start manning the barricades can we perhaps WAIT and see what is submitted by way of planning permission? Having battled with the issues of trying to gate Finsbury Park in the long distant past and failed I am particularly interested to see what LU comes up with this time. Let’s be honest here – the station really needs to be gated as the revenue losses are horrendous. It certainly needs more pedestrian capacity within the station to cope with the huge demand and making it more accessible is a definite plus.

    Personally, in a world with no financial constraints, I’d “drop a bomb” on the place and start again completely. We don’t live in that world so LU has to do the best it can with limited funds. After years and years of trying to get a scheme done it now looks like we might actually get some demonstrable improvement at one of the most overloaded suburban stations on the network. We should be pleased about that.

  306. Greg Tingey says:

    Sorry – everybody mis-interpreting things, including me.
    I was under the impression that there was another SW-NE pathway parallel to the railway from 7 Sis Rd up to the NE bus station & managing to confuse everyone with a spurious reference to the under-foot-tunnels, which are, of course, railway property, closed after the last trains have gone …
    Nonetheless, closing off any of those “Public service passages” for want of a better description would be a very silly thing to do.
    Let’s hope it never happens.

  307. Arkady says:

    @Walthamstow Writer: The original plan was to increase the space around the T-junction hand have gates immediately south of it within the Seven Sisters Road part of it, rather than routing traffic from Seven sisters through the new ticket hall. I would imagine this will remain the case.

    The planned TfL lifts are only between the underground platforms and the ground-level corridor (the corridor currently not in use). An entirely separate lift from the ground floor to the new NR platform 1 is already in place, though I have been informed it won’t be in use until the final stage, which is to build a pedestrian bridge incorporating lifts (al la Highbury & Islington or Eastfield) connecting platform 1 with the other NR platforms. Supposedly the details of this new bridge are being negotiated between FCC, NR and Islington. My guess is that it will be at the south end of the NR platforms.

    So, if you needed step free access from the tube to, say platform 6, you would need to get one lift from the tube to the ground floor, another from the ground floor to platform 1, then a further lift up to the top of the pedestrian bridge, cross to platform 6, then a further lift down. Convoluted, but hard to see how else it could be done.

    @Alison – WW is right, the new route woul be a handful of metres longer than the existing one, albeit not under cover. I’d sacrifice the under-cover part for not being trapped behind slow-walking couples who think it’s ok to walk side-by side and block everyone behind them.

    @Greg – The pedestrian route through FP is NOT a public right-of-way, nor is probably not heavily used as a short cut, as it isn’t actually a shorter route for most people heading broadly north-south (as can be seen from a glance at the map). The alternative route via Fonthill Road or Station Place would take perhaps 2 minutes longer on foot. Finsbury Park station is busy enough without being clogged by people thinking it’s OK to take a shortcut to the disadvantage of station users. The 2008 plan notes this and expressly plans to close this route to non-station users, I assume this will remain the same – as it should. I say that as a nearby resident and daily user of the station.

  308. Melvyn says:

    I seem to remember that earlier plans when Ken Livingstone was Mayor talked of building lifts that went from Underground platforms direct to Mainline platforms but for this to happen both schemes had to happen at same time.

    However , along came Boris who cancelled all step free plans wasting millions at stations where preliminary work had been undertaken and now we have a scheme that will make Finsbury Park Station more like Clapham Junction for the disabled !

    As to the subway that connects both sides of Finsbury Park Station a solution like that at kings Cross is needed with this subway loosing access to platforms or it should be gated and an alternative link build which does not have access to platforms either overground or underground .

  309. Ian Sergeant says:

    I find the report very interesting. There’s a bit of a ‘there for the grace of God go I’ about other recent developments close to the Northern City – I’d be interested to know what happened with the building of the Premier Inn and the adjacent student block. They must be within the 5m piling exclusion zone.

    Given the need for LU to walk the sub-surface line regularly to check for signs of development, it seems that there is a general ignorance within councils of where the railway lie. I’d like to see, as a consequence of this report, LU, Network Rail and Ordnance Survey working together to issue all London councils with updated large-scale maps showing where railways lie. This accident could have been very nasty, and it was only the vigilance of one railway employer which averted what could have been a major disaster. Given this fact, I find the report a little weak in its conclusions.

  310. Castlebar says:

    I too have read the RAIB report, and agree wholeheartedly with Ian Sargeant’s analysis and conclusion,

    But perhaps, the penultimate line stating “the vigilance of one railway employer” should read “the vigilance of one railway employee”

  311. Ian Sergeant says:

    Of course, sorry.

  312. timbeau says:

    Not the only reason the NCL should not have been removed from the Tube map, but it might have prevented this oversight.

    There was a recent incident in Seattle where a rather bigger drill was damaged by a rather smaller tube.

  313. Ian Sergeant says:

    PoP made a reference to this on the “Driverless Trains” article. I’ve found somewhere vaguely relevant to post this point on the document.

    Building another tunnel at Welwyn without understanding the viability of another viaduct at Digswell seems short-sighted in the least, and given the related planning issues I can’t help but feel that the option of a long tunnel under the whole area should have been considered. However I really don’t understand the statement below.

    Options were examined to four track Welwyn viaduct and tunnels. Although this removed much of this bottleneck, the mix of services on the fast lines south of Hitchin became the next constraint which limited the improvement to long distance and suburban which could be achieved. Therefore no options were taken forward which four tracked Welwyn viaduct, although an option which partially removed the bottleneck by 4-tracking the tunnels and station was included in another package.

    Option B (“medium”) on page 20 suggests that the said 4-tracking, together with (summarising and interpreting) reopening the eastern bores of Copenhagen and Gasworks tunnels, Harringay and Hornsey station extensions to six platforms, 4-tracking Huntingdon to Peterborough and remodelling Doncaster station can deliver 10 tph long-distance (and two of these leave the ECML at Newark, so effectively one extra tph on today for people north of Newark), three more than today. My inference is that four tracks through the entire Welwyn area delivers no more capacity – indeed Option A (“high”) on page 17 adds an extra two tracks all the way from Alexandra Palace to Biggleswade and only delivers 11 tph long-distance.

    Is this modelled correctly?

  314. timbeau says:

    As I understand it the main reason the Welwyn bottleneck is such a constraint is Welwyn North station. Four-tracking through the station and (at least to its north, far enough to provide an “acceleration/deceleration lane” would go a long way to maximising the use of the fast lines.

  315. Ian Sergeant says:

    Thanks Timbeau. That part I understand, but I simply don’t see how a double track section in the middle of a four track section from Alexandra Palace to Stoke Junction would not be the major bottleneck on the route. Also, I’m shocked that an extra two tracks from Alexandra Palace to Biggleswade would bring only one extra tph.

  316. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Ian Sergeant,

    I am not sure if it is strictly relevant but you have to remember that, so long as there is spare capacity on the Hertford Loop, the double track Welwyn section has very little effect on capacity. It’s that Max-flow Min-cut theorem again.

    The limitation that Welwyn makes is that the alternative route results in extended journey times. Welwyn is also a restricting feature constraining timetabling, reliability and resilience.

    You also have to bear in mind that King’s Cross only has nine long distance platforms and you will probably only get about 2tph usage of these at best. So, until you can find more platforms for really long distance traffic, doubling Welwyn to four track is not going to create the capacity increase that one might think it would. And before anyone suggests it, I really do not see that services from Doncaster, Leeds, York etc. are really appropriate for central London through tunnels unless you have lots of wide platforms so that you can have considerably extended dwell times of the order of ten minutes or so.

    There seems to be no obvious place to build more platforms or adapt existing ones unless one were able to lengthen platforms 9, 10 and 11 at King’s Cross. Even so these are not exactly that wide so not really ideal for long distance trains.

    What one probably needs long term is a comprehensive redevelopment of somewhere in the King’s Cross area, with much longer platforms. Given the known problems of trying to upgrade a major route (think of WCML) and the restrictions on capacity (don’t forget freight) all the way along the ECML you get to the point where you start thinking of a new route as well. And then if you are going to build from scratch you might as well build it for High Speed and sort out similar issues on the WCML at the same time.

  317. @Ian Sergeant,

    I simply don’t see how a double track section in the middle of a four track section from Alexandra Palace to Stoke Junction would not be the major bottleneck on the route.

    I realise I got carried away. The shorter and better answer:

    A double track section between Alexandra Palace to Stoke Junction would be a major bottleneck – if there was one. It is at least four track between these points. A minimum of two via Welwyn and two via Hertford North.

  318. timbeau says:

    Isn’t it six tracks as far as Langley Junction, excluding the Welwyn section? By which time the inner suburban services have reduced the capacity requirements, and the Cambridge line peels off shortly after.

  319. Ian Sergeant says:


    You did get a little excited!

    I’m simply looking at what is possible with the existing termini. If you could use the 9 long platforms for long distance trains at 2tph that would be great, but I believe that some of the suburban services are also 12 car. That would limit us to about 16tph (I think).

    I’m taking your comment about the Hertford Loop with a pinch of salt. Although there are six tracks from Finsbury Park to Langley Junction bar the section at Welwyn if you count the Hertford Loop, we cannot run long distance trains on the loop without widening it along at least some of its length. Likewise we cannot, other than on diversion, use the Joint Line for long distance trains – it simply takes too long.

    If you look at the current proposals for 2016, and try to satisfy all aspirations the way it is stated in the document, those 16tph would be more or less all taken. Even if the level of open access is not extended, and trains to Leeds extended to Huddersfield, Harrogate and Skipton to reduce the extra trains required, King’s Cross would be almost at maximum capacity as soon as we made that capacity available.

    If you think this is an argument for HS2 – well you may think that, I couldn’t possibly comment. And it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to make that suggestion here…

  320. CdBrux says:

    I am not sure if the argument on the Hertford Loop being 2 extra tracks is so valid. It’s 10 or more extra minutes! In the peak hours especially are commuters going to take kindly to having that time slapped on their journey, especially when a lot of effort (as a very occasional user, my parents live on the line in Bedfordshire) seems to have been made in the last 10 years to take those 10 minutes off the commute?

    So yes those lines (Hertfood loop) are there, but are they an acceptable permanent solution, and if you discount them where is the bottleneck then?

  321. CdBrux says:

    I see the link provided by Ian says the bottleneck is then actually the Huntingdon / Peterborough section, although it does say additional 2 tracks on the Welwyn viaduct section would add 3 (long distance) tph on the fast lines, although I wan’t totally clear if that was just to the level of the ‘user aspirations’ or absolute capacity. It implies that simply closing Welwyn North station would do a lot of that!

  322. I am not sure if the argument on the Hertford Loop being 2 extra tracks is so valid. It’s 10 or more extra minutes!

    But the point it that the Welwyn restriction is not a capacity restriction. What it does is add 10 minutes to some journeys. If you are catching a train from Newcastle would you prefer a crowded hourly service or a less crowded half-hourly service with alternate trains taking an extra ten minutes?

  323. Ian Sergeant says:


    ten minutes

    Yes, if we evict the suburban service. Remembering the RUS intention to expand the commuter service on the Hertford Loop, without passing loops a long distance train will queue behind commuter services. And take about 43 minutes to get to Finsbury Park from Stevenage.

    Unlike a direct service which takes around 18 minutes to get to Finsbury Park. Unless I’m missing something, add 25 minutes to the journey time. I really don’t think this works.

  324. Malcolm says:

    If the timing is exactly right, and suburban trains are every 15 minutes, then that 25 minutes could reduce to about 14, by the fast train joining the loop just ahead of one suburban train, and leaving it just behind the one in front. Even better if there were through non-platform tracks at Gordon Hill or somewhere, allowing one train to be overtaken. But there’s plenty of ifs here, so I tend to agree that the theoretical extra capacity via Hertford is difficult, almost impossible to use. Except for freight, perhaps?

  325. mr_jrt says:

    I believe the NR document stated aspirations to restore the former platform loops at Gordon Hill and one of the other stations. I suspect that would go some way to enabling a spot of overtaking. The large rural stretches the route has beyond there also lend themselves well to a spot of new freight loop construction…

  326. Ian Sergeant says:

    Looking at Wikipedia’s summary of the RUS here the aspiration is for 10tph peak via the Hertford Loop. No doubt it’s good for freight, and better for freight with loops, but I really don’t think it works as a plan for extending long distance services.

  327. CdBrux says:

    I agree with PoP it’s not a capacity constriction in the strict sense. But people vote with their feet also. For commuter services then I am sure many would wait for a later train (say 30 mins) if it got them home / to work just 10 or 15 mins later, so the effect would be negative. Maybe for longer distances this argument is less valid, if so it would need to be those services that use the loop.

    Perhaps the open access operators (Hull Trains and Grand Central I think?) could be charged less for using the Hertford Loop to see if that sort of incentive would encourage them to use it or not, this might give a good indication of the value the customers would place on the extra journey time and how realistic an option it is. Admittedly this does not immediately free up many paths, but if it shows the extra time is accepted vs a lower cost then some investment as described in the Hertford Loop to avoid fast trains being stuck behind commuter trains could be shown to be of value in overall ECML capacity once other bottlenecks than the Welwyn viaduct have been addressed.

  328. Greg Tingey says:

    What would it cost to 4-track from the N end of the Digswell viaduct to Woolmer Grn Jn?
    Would it be worth it, by effectively, clearing the fasts of the stopping paths?
    Cheaper than 4-tracking the viaduct, of course.

  329. CdBrux says:

    Greg: Somehwere in the NR document linked by Ian (exploring alternatives to HS2 to increase capacity / speed up the ECML) then that is an option they considered and it gave some benefits for a reduced cost as you may expect – probably much of the benefit being around getting the stopping paths off the fast tracks. Without re-reading the whole thing I am not sure you can infer directly from the document exactly what it does and how much cheaper it is as it’s shown only as part of a scenario including other projects, though someone with more knowledge than myself may be able to work out quite a good estimate.

  330. Ian Sergeant says:

    @CDBrux, @Greg

    The figure of £5.8bn also includes a number of other schemes such as Newark Flat Junction elimination and remodelling the King’s Cross (KGX) Throat. Rereading all the documentation:

    1) there are six tph long-distance in and out of KGX today;
    2) by 2016, with the benefits from committed schemes (Hitchin, Thameslink and Shaftholme), that increases to seven tph;
    3) spending the £5.8bn above changes the seven tph to ten tph;
    4) spending £13.4bn changes the seven tph to eleven tph.

  331. Greg Tingey says:

    Which means that option (3) is the best value for money doesn’t it?
    Option (4) being well over the hump into diminishing-returns territory.

  332. Hotgolfer says:

    With respect to the former platform loops at Gordon Hill. One is still used as a third platform for peak services. The other is not used but all the overhead power lines are still in place (the track is still in place but is overgrown). So a re-instatement of the Gordon Hill passing loops wouldn’t require a massive investment to get them operational again.

  333. CdBrux says:

    Yes, however IIRC that is a similar figure than HS2 eastern branch which of course would create rather more than 3 additional tph to Leeds, York and beyond, at least in theory. So I’d be willing to have a small bet about which one (only one) will be done (assuming HS2 approved)

  334. John U.K. says:

    What a wonderful drawing to put in in support of a planning application. See “Deviation Railway” at

  335. timbeau says:

    That link doesn’t seem to work – try this one, as linked from the planning applicatoin linked by Arkady

    Maybe that’s the most up to date map they’ve got of what’s down there – after the Old Street Incident no-one wants to take any chances!

  336. Arkady says:

    Finally some news! The Western Ticket Hall just went in for planning permission as part of the revised City North application.

    Future plans for the station:

  337. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Arkady – interesting. I am rather surprised at the decision to install gates at an initial stage and particularly as it will not provide a full solution in the short term. They aren’t going to get many gates in the Seven Sisters Rd entrance unless they’re planning to knock part of the tunnel open which I somehow doubt. Also just gating the LU side of Station Place leaves an open route, albeit circuitous, via the spirals to the LU platforms. FCC’s ludicrous decision to put gates on their platforms also means you can’t gate their side of Station Place as you’d end up with two entry or two exit transactions from street to platform (and vv) which Oyster can’t cope with. I wonder if the end state will involve them moving their gates because if they don’t there will always be a “hole” at Finsbury Park.

    I also do not understand the reference to a stepped entry to one of the passageways via the new Western Ticket Hall. That seems most odd to me. Time to get a snap of the long corridor before it disappears (assuming permission is given for the scheme).

    In some respects it’s nice to see Finsbury Park still proving to be a nightmare 20 odd years after I dragged consultants round the place to explain the problems with gating the place. 😉

  338. Greg Tingey says:

    If they don’t enlarge the entrance / exit “holes” there’s going to be very severe congestion & potentials for crowd-crushing ( & injuries ) at those places.
    Not an intelligent move, IMHO.
    Worse when the crowds are trying to get “in” to the station, of course, because you can always “pop” the gates from the inside, but the other way around doesn’t work ….

  339. Arkady says:

    The gateline at Station Place will be outside the station, under the canopy. It will be quite long, and cater for both the TfL and NR entrances. That should allow them to remove the internal NR gateline. With the new ticket hall replacing the Wells Terrace entrance things should be a lot better than they are now.

    The Seven Sisters entrance will remain rather narrow, but it’s the least used, and will be even less used once the new WTH is in place.

    @WW – where are you seeing the reference to ‘stepped entry’? I don’t get that either. Unless it’s a reference to the National Rail mezzanine corridor, the lift for which is at the Station Place end. Or will the add steps up to the mezzanine from the new WTH too?

  340. Arkady says:

    The detailed plans in the planning apps are, for some reason, still for the old plans. But I think you can see the steps on page 4 of the D&A statement:
    Looks like the existing corridor will require steps, but the new ‘corridor 4’ extension will not.

  341. Arkady says:

    Actually, the steps are shown on page 7&8 of the FP plan document too.

  342. Anonymous? says:

    The plans look OK at first glance but I would have two major reservations – firstly, the WTH does looks on the small side and this could seriously undermine any improvement in passenger flow and accessibility from Wells Terrace especially after TL arrives and I could see a permanent one way system implemented(outside of events and matchdays) to solve this quite soon after its opening which would be simply unacceptable considering the financial outlay and defeat its intended purpose.

    Secondly, the passenger flows from the Station Place exit TO the Wells Terrace station in the interim period between the LU Wells Terrace exit closing and the WTH opening seems to be rather under-estimated and its adverse effect on the reliability of the 210,W3,W7 buses exiting from there via the zebra crossing throat, particularly during the evening peak- the queues there can be around the block in the shoulder peak let alone in the peak. I wonder if any serious assessment has been conducted on the predicted flow during the interim period and its impact on this…

  343. Arkady says:

    The interim period is going to be a real pain. There will be local pressure to ensure that the transition is as short as possible.

    The combination of the additional corridor, the WTH, the stairwells, and the new lifts will make things flow much better. Add to that the new gatelines, which will stop people using the station tunnels as a cut-through. But, as the above article opined, that won’t be sufficient in the long-run.

    There’s lots of potential to further open-up the arches under the station (as at London Bridge). But as London Bridge shows, doing that while maintaining a working railway overhead is expensive and disruptive.

  344. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Arkady – none of the recent links work for me and I can’t get Islington’s planning database to return a coherent response. Do you have a number for the planning application?

  345. Anonymous? says:

    WW – the planning application for the WTH is P2014/0782/S73 but its probably easier to search for City North on the Islington planning portal if that helps

  346. Arkady says:

    Irritatingly the detailed plans on the planning portal are still for the earlier iteration of the scheme.

  347. Greg Tingey says:

    Passing through, earlier today …
    The E-side spiral staircase (to/from the southbound tube lines is now open, but the other one is still “in progress” …
    However, Fist crapital Connect seem to have lost a station.
    On both the inner suburban & outer timetables, its shown on the table but not on either diagram …
    Watton-at-Stone has apparently ceased to exist!

  348. Greg Tingey says:

    Watton-at Stone still does not exist, but …
    The Down-side (Northbound) spiral staircase is now also open, at last.

  349. Savoy Circus says:

    Do the Kings Cross-Finsbury Park-non stop-Stevenage trains use the fast lines (and call at platform 4 up 5 down) or call at the slow line platforms having switched slow-fast or vice versa north of FP)?

    If its the slow lines then presumably platforms are unused in normal working and could be sacrificed to make room for additional lines

  350. THC says:

    @ Savoy Circus

    Anecdotally – but it is my local station and I use these services on occasion – they are known to use both 5 and 7 heading north, although predominantly the latter. These services do indeed switch to the fast lines just north of FP.


  351. Savoy Circus says:


    It seems when Thameslink is complete there will be 4 of these per hour (off-peak) compared to 2 now ie 2 x Cambridge Brighton and 2 x Peterborough Horsham.

    If they use the fast line platforms at FP then it would be much more convenient if the up Moorgate trains could use platforms 2/3 to provide cross-platform interchange with all Thameslink and Kings Cross services calling at FP if opening doors on both sides can be allowed.

  352. WAGN says:

    No trains are scheduled to call at Platform 5 during peak hours, with all northbound stopping trains from King’s Cross using Platform 7. The non-stop to Stevenage services then switch into the fast lines north of the station. At evenings and weekends, trains do call at Platform 5 since presumably there is enough slack in the timetable then to have trains blocking the fast lines. Going southbound, trains do regularly call at Platform 4 even in the peak, though hopefully this practice will reduce in future so as to ease interchange with Moorgate services on Platform 1. Given all Thameslink trains will have to be in the slow lines to access the Canal Tunnels, I don’t see why all those services can’t call at Platform 2. There’s little need to eliminate plaforms to create new running lines given there’s already 6 through the station plus an extra line on the Holloway Road side of the station that’s currently used for empty stock movements.

  353. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Paper and presentation about Finsbury Park improvements going to LU and Rail Panel this week. Looks like gates arrive in March but Wells Terrace ticket hall and corridor disappears in April 2015 meaning a two year walk round the streets to get into the station. New Western entrance due 2017.

  354. Arkady says:

    Thanks WW. TfL & Network Rail are attending a Finsbury Park regeneration conference on the 21st, I intend to ask lots of questions about the station and perhaps write it up here.

    Any suggested questions?

  355. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Arkady – I think my main question would be “when are you going to “drop a bomb” on Finsbury Park station and give it the rebuild that it deserves?”

    Let’s be honest – all the recent work and that which is currently planned is merely tinkering at the edges to add lifts, put in gates and squeeze a bit more capacity out of the place. The place has been unable to cope in the peak for years. I’d like to see a demand projection for usage of the station – especially post Thameslink in 2018 – and to understand when the station will be deemed “unsafe” in the peaks because it cannot safely handle the volumes of passengers.

    The LU station is repeatedly damaged by water ingress because the NR infrastructure at track level and below is wrecked. When I was responsible for the LU bit of F Park I lost count of the times when water related faults were a major issue. We couldn’t get NR remotely interested in fixing their part of the infrastructure. It makes the place look shabby and opening up the disused bits of the station are likely to see the problem get worse not better even though I expect mitigation works will be done. That’s a minor complaint in the scheme of things but, for me, it “sets the tone” for the entire station. No one really cares about it and no one single party is in charge of it because of the complex infrastructure ownership. It needs a radical and fundamental rebuild (which would cost many many millions) and some one needs to take a brave bill about how it is operated and maintained. Regrettably I cannot see those steps happening even though the place warrants the investment given its vast usage levels, high revenue base and importance as a key interchange node in north London. If it was in Germany it would be at least twice the size with larger platforms plus large circulation areas and escalators and lifts to and from the platforms.

  356. @WW

    “The LU station is repeatedly damaged by water ingress because the NR infrastructure at track level and below is wrecked”

    Is there any charge back to NR for the LU remediation work?

  357. Arkady says:

    The worst ingress is into the tunnel that is being demolished.

    I don’t suppose a more significant redevelopment will happen until HS2 comes along and allows for temporary closure of the ECML above.

  358. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ LBM – not as far as I know but things might have changed since I was involved. There’s still water ingress though!

  359. strawbrick says:

    Arkady has said: “I don’t suppose a more significant redevelopment will happen until HS2 comes along and allows for temporary closure of the ECML above.”

    Good Lord! I knew that HS2 was the answer to all our problems, but may I ask “How and when?”

  360. WAGN says:

    I’m very surprised to see Wells Terrace closure so soon. Given the almost total lack of consultation on this, I expect a lot of unhappy passengers. That entrance is very heavily used thanks to the packed bus routes from Crouch End and beyond.

    I’m still unclear on how ticket gates will work at Station Place. I’ve read before that there will be one gate line across the LU and NR entrances. But surely there’s some mistake in that since that would enclose the NR ticket office and machines (since it’s NR it presumably won’t be closing any time soon, in fact it was renovated last year).

  361. Anomnibus says:


    I think Arkady is suggesting that HS2 could take most of the fast services during such a rebuild, leaving only the local and regional stopping services. This would release capacity on the lines through Finsbury Park and make it much easier to phase a major rebuild there.

    @Walthamstow Writer:

    NR may simply be biding their time while they wait for some pieces to fall into place.

    This is particularly the case if, as your post implies, the existing fabric is no longer fit for purpose. Reusing the viaducts won’t be an option, so a complete, ground-up rebuild will be needed. It’ll be more like rebuilding London Bridge. The logistics will be much trickier than at Reading, where NR had (literally) acres of existing railway-owned land to play with. There’s nowhere near as much space at Finsbury Park, so phasing it all will be very, very tricky.

  362. Arkady says:

    Quite so.

  363. timbeau says:

    “NR may simply be biding their time while they wait for some pieces to fall into place. ”

    Sounds more likely that pieces are going to fall off!

  364. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ WAGN – one of the telling omissions in the presentation is the lack of consultation with bus users. There is a long list of communication activities but I think TfL are just assuming people will see posters at Finsbury Park itself. Given the level of influence that people in Muswell Hill and Crouch End can generate it strikes me as odd to not see a more proactive approach to advising people that their journeys will get longer for at least 2 years. The volumes of people is also considerable and may mean people having to queue out in the street in order to get into the station.

    I am also struggling to understand how they’re going to gate the Seven Sisters Road entrance – if they can get more than three walkways in there then I’m a Chinaman. I agree with you that Station Place won’t be easy either. The implications on match days are also interesting.

  365. AlisonW says:

    These repeated references to “HS2” at Finsbury Park are puzzling me. Do you mean to refer to CR2? I’m not following why HS2 (which aiui goes the other way) would have anything to do with this area.

  366. @AlisonW,

    Because HS2 will serve Leeds and many passengers at intermediate stations are expected to switch to HS2. The East Coast Main Line does not serve many large population centres. A lot of passengers travel from quite great distances just to get to the station and may well switch to HS2.

  367. Greg Tingey says:

    The implications on match days are also interesting.
    More crushed bodies, you mean?
    I’m getting more & more concerned about this, in several locations, & no-one seems to have the authority to tell DfT (Who are, AIUI, behind the gating frenzy.) to back off & get stuffed, before someone is seriously injured, at the least.

  368. Martin says:

    @Arkady (post 9/2 14:48 re going to regeneration meeting) My main concern at the moment is learning that the Wells Terrace entrance is closing for good in March, and the new Western entrance won’t be open until late 2016 is it?

    I currently use the Wells Terrace exit every day. The station is already overcrowded and occasionally closed at peak times and I cannot believe that they have adequately modelled the likely impact of closing this exit. As others have stated it is the main entrance & exit for the busy W3, W7, 210 bus routes, plus a significant residential crowd. Also there is the large student building that proudly boasts of 750 beds opening later this year right on Clifton Terrace. At best I can see the station being closed due to overcrowding far more often, and lots of dissatisfied passengers; at worst I can see serious safety risks.

    So if you could, I would like you to ask how they have assessed the impact of closing the Wells Terrace exit during this work, and whether it is truly impossible to keep this exit open for any longer (or provide an alternative during the work). They must know the peak ingress rates through Wells Terrace from the Oyster swipes (plus a % for paper tickets); it shouldn’t be difficult to have modelled the impact of moving that and distributing it between the other two entrances (mostly through the main one I expect). Are they confident they can cope? and what do the exit rates look like on Arsenal match days? Will the Wells Terrace exit be physically inaccessible or for at least part of the period could it be re-opened during an emergency? (say a tube fire). I would also ask why they have not done much more to communicate this well in advance so that people could have more chance to respond.


  369. The Other Paul says:

    It seems to me that the “City North” development has the unfortunate consequence of densely building on the very site that would be required for a major redevelopment of the whole station. In fact many of the large sites to the West of the station have been redeveloped in recent years – you could see this as a serious missed opportunity.

    Sad that, as with Clapham Junction, the lack of an overall future vision – even if money isn’t available right now – ends up constraining the site even further. Simply putting these stations in the “too difficult” pile shows a terrible lack of leadership. An outline master plan with safeguarding is all it would take – developments could still take place but, as at Paddington, with passive provision for the future station reconstruction and necessary works.

  370. The Other Paul says:

    As far as I can see from the Wells Terrace entrance and most of the passageway is slap bang in the middle of the site for the City North development. I can’t see how it could realistically remain open in any way. Logistics aside, the safety issues alone of such major construction going on overhead would seem to preclude it. Given that the passage tunnel runs under the City North I’d also be curious to know what the ownership situation is. It may be that LUL’s options are limited, and they’d probably argue that by getting a new station building constructed for free by the developer they’re getting a good deal.

  371. Arkady says:

    @Martin – I will most definitely be asking that very question. It’s not closed until 2016, it’s closed until October 2017!

    @The Other Paul – It’s clear the the western/Wells Terrace entrance will need to remain closed while the tunnel is being demolished and the basement works finished. The plans suggest that will take up to one year. What isn’t clear is why they then cannot run a tunnel in hoardings out to Wells Terrace while they build the development around it – that’s exactly what happened at King’s Cross while they were building the new concourse.

    As to your other point – I’m not convinced that the station needs to expand further into the surrounding area. Vast internal space could surely be claimed by opening up the tunnel arches and connecting them up as it being done at London Bridge. That would no doubt be expensive and disruptive, but doable in theory.

  372. Mat W says:

    Re: the meeting on the 21st, please can you ask if there are any plans post station redevelopment to provide direct access to the NR platforms from the Wells Terrace bus station and/or the new Western Station Entrance? Thanks indeed

  373. Arkady says:

    We sort-of know that already, in that the extended corridor leads to a lift up to Platform 1-2.

    When they will get around to building the platform bridge linking those platforms to the others is another question, and one that I shall ask.

  374. The Other Paul says:

    “A Tunnel in Hoardings”
    Well that’s kind of why I mentioned the land ownership point. Unless we could find out the minutiae of the historic agreement between the railway and the landowner surrounding the tunnel it’s impossible to say. We don’t even know which of today’s railway entities is party to it! At Kings Cross the railway owns the entire site so the situation was much more straightforward.
    I’d also say that the site strikes me as a fairly constrained place to build two towers and some other lower-rise buildings. Maintaining a busy walkway with all the requisite health & Safety requirements would complicate construction considerably. Again Kings Cross was a low-rise piece of work without the considerable concrete pours and piling that will be required for these towers.

    On the other point, what I didn’t really make clear is that I meant space to allow the development to happen – for construction logistics and perhaps temporary diversions of roads or rail lines – rather than to increase the footprint of the station. London Bridge is more or less surrounded by roads, some of which have been closed to form the construction site. Without this site being available at Finsbury Park the logistics of something similar happening there are all the more tricky. St Pancras would have been a lot more difficult to do without the construction area to the North of the British Library and the Reading station work – where the footprint of the station has actually increased – was largely made possible by the existence of the adjacent vacant site.

    That said, my personal crayon redevelopment of Finsbury Park would include two large retail-lined passageways extending straight from under the platforms out across the City North site. One to Wells Terrace and the other to a new pedestrian/cycle boulevard constructed between Seven Sisters Road and Wells Terrace perpendicular to the end of Goodwin Street. And a development opportunity above them. I’m thinking the clean lines of the new Rotterdam Centraal’s passageways with a better implemented pedestrian boulevard than Brussels Midi.

  375. Anomnibus (Lewisham People's Front [Catford Branch]) says:


    The only way to open up the space under the viaducts is to demolish them. Some of the photos in the London Reconnections Photo Pool (see links on home page and below) show the scale of the work: when they rebuilt the terminating platforms, they didn’t just peel off the platforms themselves: they dug right down through to ground level. The entire structure beneath each and every platform is being ripped out and replaced entirely with modern replacements that take up a lot less room and allow the concourse to be relocated beneath the tracks.

    London Bridge is big enough that this kind of work can be phased without too much disruption to services. Where possible, some services were simply rerouted to other termini, like Blackfriars, via Elephant & Castle.

    This is one of the few occasions when the South London rail network’s maze of interconnected lines has proved an advantage, but the network to the north of London is much more segregated, limiting diversion options. You can’t just divert all Stevenage or Hertford trains into St. Pancras or Liverpool Street as neither terminus has the capacity to cope with all those extra trains.

    If Network Rail also want to reconfigure the platform layout at Finsbury Park, the phasing is going to be even more difficult: it means closing at least two platforms at the same time, to rebuild just one. I don’t envy the project lead who takes this on.

  376. Arkady says:

    But could not be opened up in a less interventionist way? In the way that the arches under LB used to be? Yes it would free up less space, but it would still be more than now. There are many arches that are currently used for shops at either end, or not used at all.

  377. WAGN says:

    @Arkady: “When they will get around to building the platform bridge linking those platforms to the others is another question, and one that I shall ask.”

    I believe the answer to this question is “never”. Slide 5 of the Tfl Rail + Underground panel presentation says: “LU and NR lifts all coming off ‘passageway 4’… Developing a ‘joint’ lift on NR platforms 5/6 down to LU southbound platforms.” Personally I think this will be a much better solution than taking the lift to Platform 1/2 and then another lift up to a bridge and then another lift down to your platform of choice.

  378. Arkady says:

    I’d completely missed that. It’s a vastly superior solution.

    So there’s the existing lift to platform 1/2. The document points to two new lift shafts, one of which is to 5/6 and the other appears to be to 7/8. The picture also shows what I *think* is the disused lift-shaft to 3/4 which presumably will be brought back into use?

    So, 5/6 will also serve the Southbound underground platforms. Will there be a fifth (?) lift that serves the northbound platforms, or will that remain stairs-only?

  379. Arkady says:

    This sort of thing (I suspect the ones under FP are rather less grand):

  380. Anonymous says:


    I see Haringey have included the Network Rail yard at 12-20 Stroud Green Road in their potential residential developments from 2020.

  381. Melvyn says:

    One does wonder why the buś routes that terminate in Wells Terrace can’t be diverted to serve the other side of the station and then run empty to Wells a Terrace bus Station?

    The recent extension of route 263 to Highbury has left a spot near the Nags Head where one maybe two the routes could be extended to until these works are finished.

    It seems mainline to tube via lifts will only be Southbound only . Wonder if they don’t trust passengers travelling Northbound ?

    So what happens if Kings Cross Station is closed by an incident given the chaos after XMAS !

    Perhaps Finsbury Park Station needs a Crossrail solution with new tunnels taking Thameslink trains from North of Finsbury Park underground ? Extension of Northern City Line from Drayton Park in tunnel maybe !

  382. Graham H says:

    @Melvyn – it’s hardly realistic to build back up infrastructure against the possibility that disruption will occur somewhere; logically,that would end in the construction of a complete second – redundant – transport system… And as for extensing the GN&C – a sconcing offence, surely?

  383. Melvyn says:

    Sorry forgot about that. So simply divert / extend routes to other nearby turning points .

    Your photo shows how many problems at Finsbury Park there are and the difficulty of overcoming them.

  384. Arkady says:

    Closed from 20 April. Now THREE years, not merely two and a half, until Western Ticket Hall opens.—new-entrance-and-step-free-access

  385. Greg Tingey says:

    What are the three “tube” stations outside Z1 that are busier than FP I wonder?
    Stratford presumably is one ….

  386. Slugabed says:

    Brixton,at a hazarded guess.

  387. Herned says:

    Canary Wharf?

  388. Tom Hawtin says:

    @Greg Doesn’t have 2014, but:

    54.50 Stratford
    50.05 Canary Wharf
    29.29 Hammersmith (Dis)
    27.22 Brixton
    27.07 Finsbury Park
    (25.15 Vauxhall)
    22.87 Shepherd’s Bush (Central)
    22.52 Camden Town
    22.40 North Greenwich (surprising)
    (21.27 Earl’s’ Court)

  389. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Tom H – North Greenwich is not too surprising given it has a largeish car park, growing office and housing developments, the O2 brings regular event crowds and there are frankly ludicrously busy bus links from South East London. The growth rate of patronage on those bus routes is staggering in recent years. The last time I travelled through there I was on a 108 bus travelling contra peak and the bus was well loaded and picked up nearly 10 people at the Peninsula stop one stop away from NOG station. That volume of boardings so close to the station was a real surprise to me given buses run very frequently on that section.

  390. Greg Tingey says:

    The close almost mirror-images of Stratford & Canary Wharf are amusing.
    Vauxhall is busier than Camden Town, but Camden Town is the one that has to be closed because of overcrowding ….. [ Which is another discussion-thread ]
    I always forget Brixton – I often go as far as Stockwell – from Walthamstow, but I think I’ve only ever been on to Brixton in the week it opened …

  391. Walthamstow Writer,

    Regarding bus loadings at North Greenwich and people making short journeys…

    Only the other night I heard that this causes quite a problem with the local MP complaining of people being unable to catch a bus because it doesn’t stop because the downstairs is full. There are seats upstairs but no-one want to go upstairs for 3 or 4 stops and then be at the back of the crowd when everyone gets off at North Greenwich.

    Of course bendy buses on the nice wide roads around North Greenwich would have solved this. Or maybe instead have some nice new buses that have two staircases. A suitable scheme to give buses some priority could help. One could call it Greenwich Waterfront Transit to make it seem modern.

  392. Arkady says:

    I’m deeply sceptical of any numbers given for Finsbury Park. I bet it leaps right up the list once it’s gated. Streams of travelcard holders pour past the card-readers at peak times. There simply are’t enough of them at the moment (and several of those that do exist are poorly positioned), and if everyone stopped to tap their card there would be queues up the street.

    Hopefully the new gatelines will have more gates than there currently are card-readers. Still, with the closure of one of the busiest entrances, I still predict chaos.

    These numbers also don’t factor in the huge numbers of people transferring between National Rail and the TfL.

  393. Jonathan Roberts says:

    @ Tom Hawtin
    When you add in the DLR and main lines volumes at Stratford and interchange flows there – please bear in mind that every many ‘entries and exits’ at Stratford may actually be transfers to other lines/operators eg DLR/LOROL/Abellio, so we are talking journey stages not complete journeys – then Stratford is now the 6TH BUSIEST station and interchange in the whole of Britain. Respect. Also maybe some quality improvements needed – ever enjoyed waiting on the West Anglia platforms?

    Stratford now exceeds, for example, the combined volume at Euston main line/Euston tube/Euston Square sub-surface. It’s also busier (just) than the Paddingtons + Lancaster Gate, and lots busier than Charing Cross ML and tubes and Embankment combined. Looking ahead, the OOC designers are anticipating 200 million+ plus per annum eventually, putting that alongside Waterloo.

    Conclusion: a station passenger volume map of London, now and in 2050, would be far more revealing than a nominal tube map.

  394. timbeau says:

    “Vauxhall is busier than Camden Town, but Camden Town is the one that has to be closed because of overcrowding ….. ”
    Those stats only measure entry and exit through the gates: and therefore interchange traffic at Vauxhall is measured but intechange traffic at Camden Town is not. Busy though Vauxhall is, (and narrow though the stairs from the SWT platforms are), I’m pretty sure Camden Town is busier, and the corridors narrower. Many SWT passengers are also switching to bus at Vauxhall, to travel further into London on a Z2+ travelcard valid on buses in Zone 1 but not on trains and tubes.

  395. Jonathan Roberts says:

    0815-0915 (max peak hour) volumes at Finsbury Park, based on 2012 LUL data:
    combined Access, Exit and Interchange: 16,400 journey stages (also available in detail for every type of interchange and entry/exit including the main line).
    All day volumes: 149,100 journey stages.

    Based on a x331 multiplier for weekday to annual (2011 LUL data for Finsbury Park), then the annual equivalent gross volumes of passengers handled would be roughly 49.4 million journey stages.

    Of course that includes much cross-platform transfer between the Vic and Pic lines. On an equivalent annual basis, the annual cross-platform flows were 18.7 million journey stages in 2012 (so presumably divide by 2 for actual journeys), while the ‘up and over’ tube flow eg Wood Green to Walthamstow was 1.2 million journey stages.

    That leaves you with about 29.5 million journey stages heading to/from exits or main line interchange, to/from all lines including the main line.

    That’s all an LUL estimate. I find their numbers more reliable than ORR’s in the London area, as they have had to assess large volumes of complex flows. As you say, we shall find out the hard way what the complete user volumes are in due course.

  396. Jonathan Roberts says:

    Since I’m currently in information mode, the same 2012 data for Camden Town and Vauxhall, as for Finsbury Park, is as follows:
    Camden Town entry+exit flows at the LUL station, weekdays: 58,200 passengers.
    Vauxhall, same basis: 71,700 passengers.
    So Vauxhall is 23% busier then.

    However that is not true at weekends.
    There, LUL 2013 data shows 2.9m entries and exits over a year at Vauxhall, combining Saturdays and Sundays, but 7.1m at Camden Town. Indeed, at Camden, Saturdays are 37% busier overall than weekdays, although hourly flows are closer than that for equivalent peaks.

    When you combine those volumes with the limited circulating space both upstairs and downstairs at Camden, close to the escalators, then one can understand that Camden Town can feel busier, and is certainly a harder station to manage safely on some days of the week.

  397. Arkady says:

    Jonathan – fascinating. What are the top four outside zone 1 under the LUL figures, and where does FP come if it it’s not in the top four?

  398. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – are you unaware of the huge queues at Brixton in the AM peak because of the escalator works? The station is jammed solid from the gatelines, across the entire ticket hall, up the stairs and then there are crowd control barriers right up Brixton Road almost to Lambeth Town Hall. The queue is several people wide. I’ve seen plenty of photos of this and people are immensely “fed up” (to be polite) with what’s going on. Apparently it is impossible to board buses in Brixton heading towards Stockwell in the AM peak due to the volumes of being trying to avoid the Brixton queue. Similarly there have been photos showing commuters jammed from the Vic Line gateline at Vauxhall all the way into the NR station at peak times. This is partly because of the ticket hall works being done at Vauxhall.

    @PoP – while I am sorely tempted to take your bait I’ll simply say that things are so bad on the approaches to North Greenwich that TfL have had to break their own rules and add in single direction AM peak short journeys on the 472 between Charlton and NOG. That’s the only way people can get on buses between Charlton and NOG – everything else is full and properly full. No empty seats upstairs nonsense on those routes. They’re simply jam packed based on what people tell me. I’ve only seen the jam packed PM Peak buses leaving NOG and they’re horrendous.

    @ Arkady – I share your concerns. I am deeply sceptical that Finsbury Park can be gated at SS Road and Station Place and somehow work and that’s with existing patterns of use. If they were workable why haven’t they been gated years ago? I think that LU has decided to gate now because it gives them the means to restrict entry in the peaks when Wells Tce closes. I expect that there will be enormous queues right round the block – cue “Horror of Finsbury Park queues returns to haunt travellers” headlines in 4 weeks time. The other element is what happens to the Great Northern side of the station as they have gates (assuming they’re still there) at platform level. If Station Place entrance isn’t gated on the GN side then people can evade the gates by using the spiral stairs down to LU from the intermediate level.

    @ J Roberts – interesting Stratford stats and I agree about the passenger facilities in parts of the station. They’re dreadful. I’ve never had to wait long for a Lea Valley train but wouldn’t fancy a long wait on a cold, wet day. I’m pleased you picked up on the key fact at Camden Town which is the weekend flows and passenger behaviour – makes it one of the harder stations to plan for because so much of the “M-F peak hour orthodoxy” for planning purposes just doesn’t apply.

  399. Arkady says:

    WW – “I think that LU has decided to gate now because it gives them the means to restrict entry in the peaks when Wells Tce closes”

    This, yes exactly this. I’ve had the Islington Gazette on the blower again today, so the headlines may be sooner rather than later.

    “If Station Place entrance isn’t gated on the GN side then people can evade the gates by using the spiral stairs down to LU from the intermediate level.”

    Plans are elusive, but the old ones showed a gateline covering both the TfL and NR entrances, running in an arc under the projecting roof.

  400. The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Orange says:

    Now Victoria trains are more frequent they are pushing huge crowds through the stations. I remember when Warren Street was a backwater by central London standards but on Thursday morning there was a queue at the bottom of the escalators even though both of them were going upwards. Maybe Central passengers have switched while Tottenham Court Road is shut; it might have been me when I was living in Woodford.

  401. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ TFB, TFO – Warren St’s escalators have overloaded for years in the AM peak. When I used to change from Vic to Nor the knack was to be off the s/b Vic line train ASAP and hope a n/b hadn’t just arrived so you could get on the escalator without a massive queue. The same applies at the north end of the Vic Line where people are well trained in which door aligns to the platform exit. Misjudge it and your journey can be minutes longer because of queues for the escalators. If you’re on a tight connection for a train or bus then your journey might get very much longer! All the stations need their central stairs replaced with escalators. Why this is not being done as part of rebuilding Tottenham Hale I don’t understand – the place is chronically overloaded now and will be much worse in the future. It’s ludicrously short sighted to plonk a much bigger, more attractive station in place and then have to come back years later to replace the stairs with an escalator (as they will surely have to do). The growth in local journeys at the north end of the line is just adding to the capacity pressures.

  402. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Gates are now installed, but not commissioned yet at the Seven Sisters Road exit. They have installed one wide gate and two standard gates.

  403. Chris Patrick says:

    There are proposals/plans for a new (larger) bus station at North Greenwich. It will involve a longer walk as it will occupy part of the car park space.

    The real problem with the station is that it is Zone 2 and people travel long distances on buses (free with a Zone 1/2 Travelcard) to save money.

  404. Graham H says:

    @Chris Patrick – but a long way from FP, surely?

  405. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Matt D – looks like they’ve installed all that is physically possible at that entrance rather than do something to enlarge the entrance. I’m gobsmacked that so few gates pass any sort of throughput / evacuation test for the numbers using that entrance (it’s the one I use the most at FP). If the plan (as per your usenet post) is to only switch on on 20 April when Wells Tce closes then there’s going to be a problem. Combining two “learning curves” on one day is not really good practice when you’ve reduced capacity. Far better to switch the gates on a week before hand, even though Wells Terrace won’t have them, so people get used to them and start telling people that they’ll be walking round the block in a week’s time.

    Can’t wait to see the massive queues at the gates, especially on football days! I also wonder what will happen to the TSGN gates at platform level because you can’t have two exits or two entries in a row (e.g exit at platform level and the again at Station Place or vice versa) with Oyster’s checking logic on PAYG. That’s why the interchange gateline was taken out at Stratford.

  406. Greg Tingey says:

    If that is correct, then how come we have the (IMHO completely potty) back-to-back lines at the E end of WaterlooEast / W end of Southwark?
    Or the about-to-be-installed gates at Walthamstow Central, for that matter?
    And the already installed gates at Tottie Hale?
    Or am I being dumb, somewhere – do all of these count as exit – entry, even though, in the first case there is no way out between the gatelines, to anywhere at all ….

  407. Southern Heights says:

    @ Greg:

    I wish they would add a normal exit there. I was out at a bar in the arches above Southwark station and thought it was ridiculous that I was expected to walk all the way to Blackfriars/Waterloo road to get to W/loo East….

  408. Leon says:

    The gates at Waterloo East/Southwark count as exit/entry and the system can presumably cope with single journeys that include balanced exit/enter pairs during the journey, as there are several places where that happens (The old layout at Kings Cross comes to mind).

    And I agree it’s completely potty and there should be a normal exit. Especially now given that Southwark station is overloaded with people leaving Waterloo East that way as it’s less busy than London Bridge or Canon Street.

  409. timbeau says:

    The problem at Waterloo East/Southwark, which I thought had been resolved, was that although Oyster will allow you through three barrier lines to get to or from the platforms at Southwark from/to the entrance at Waterloo East, without charging you extra (the no-mans-land counting as an OSI) this is of no help if you are travelling on a London terminals ticket. Unless it has been changed recently, these will not let you through the barriers to or from the Southwark station side.
    At best, this can leave you having to walk from the entrance to Waterloo East along Brad Street to the entrance to Southwark station, or vice versa – particularly annoying if you were at the country end of the incoming SE train.
    At worst, if you were using a single ticket you can be stuck in no mans land after the SER machine has eaten it.
    One solution is to use your Oyster, if you have one, to cross the concourse of Southwark station. But this will cost you a Zone 1 tube fare.

  410. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – in all the examples (barring Southwark) you cite you either simply enter or exit the respective “side” of the interchange and can reach the street or a platform and then you have an option to enter the other “side” of the interchange. OSIs work on the principle of having “sides” within the defined interchange. The logic for a journey from Amersham to Chingford could be

    Enter Amersham
    change at Kings Cross (no OSI Met to Vic anymore)
    Exit Walthamstow Central LU (one side of the OSI)
    Enter Walthamstow Central NR (other side of OSI)
    Exit Chingford


    Enter Amersham
    Exit Marylebone NR (one side of the OSI)
    Enter Marylebone LU (other side)
    Change Oxford Circus
    Exit Walthamstow Central LU (one side of the OSI)
    Enter Walthamstow Central NR (other side of OSI)
    Exit Chingford

    Or finally

    Enter Amersham
    Exit Liv St LU (one side of the OSI)
    Enter Liv St NR (other side)
    Exit Chingford

    You get the general idea of interchanges have “sides” to them. There is even a Non Zone 1 fare interchanging West Hampstead LU to West Hampstead Overground with “pink” touch at Highbury and Islington. That f are option also allows Finchley Rd / Finchley Road and Frognal as a valid interchange too. Strangely there is no “via West Hampstead, Gospel Oak, Blackhorse Rd, Walthamstow C” route nor a similar version but changing between WW Queens Rd / WW Central.

    Provided the OSIs are properly configured and people touch in and out there’s no great issue. Southwark is (IMO) a palpable nonsense given no exit to the street between the gatelines and I’m amazed it got past the safety people in LU or South Eastern or the ORR or the Fire Brigade. Your basic moan about gating what were previously “open” interchanges between NR and LU is a separate issue where your views are well known and I don’t have anything to add given it’s decades since I had any involvement in gating plans.

  411. Greg Tingey says:

    I have actually, been in correspondence in the past with ORR about the internal double gate-line @ Waterloo E.
    The response was: “It’s perfectly safe, because, when the gates are operative (i.e. “closed”) there will always be a gate attendant to help” (!)
    Of course, if they did away with said gates they could save two salaries + gateline maintance …..

    AT WHC, ORR have come back & told me that they have required TfL to undertake mitigation measures to the new “trapping cage” that has been designed (?) for people coming out of the tube. Mirrors, cctv camears, & one particular very narrow gate, with projections on it will have to go.
    I just hope it will be enough to avoid the crowd-crush accident that I was/am afraid of. My local MP has also been copied in on this, I’m glad to say.

    Of course, very soon after all of this goes into operation, we will have to go “out & “in” to proceed from one TfL service to another ( Underground / Overground ).

    The [Snip. Logic is a more polite word. LBM] of this arrangement is left as an exercise for the reader to judge ….

  412. timbeau says:

    Whilst safety is important, the point is the need to pay an Oyster Zone 1 Tube fare simply to exit Waterloo East onto Blackfriars Road, without going on an Underground train at all.

  413. timbeau says:

    ………..(assuming of course that you actually have an Oyster, which someone coming up from Dover may well not have!

  414. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – I am well aware of your letter writing about WHC.

  415. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes, but I want to make sure that it’s in “the public domain” just in case I was correct, as I would much rather not be, & something goes ‘orribly worng.

  416. MikeP says:

    @timbeau 15:57 (and subsequent discussions) – your London Terminals ticket will get you through the Waterloo East/Southwark gateline.

    At present. It’s part of the arrangements for the London Bridge non-stopping. So enjoy it while you can. It won’t be lasting.

    Indeed, once you’ve done that, you can get the Jubbly back to London Bridge and exit there. And all sorts of other places. See here.

  417. Malcolm says:

    @MikeP good points. But since passing on foot through Southwark station is not explicitly mentioned in the site you reference, it is possible that with a London Terminals ticket you might not be allowed out of the exit gate at the east end of Southwark station. If this is the case, you could always try out the reference to “staff will use a common-sense approach”. (Which is a phrase to which I always add a mental “probably, except on Tuesdays”).

  418. Mike says:

    Malcolm – Southwark is explicitly mentioned on the page MikeP refers to as a station that holders of all NR ticket types can use without being charged (in the list of stations just below the diagram) , so no common sense required!

  419. Arkady says:

    The Station Place gateline is being installed today:

    And here’s the Seven Sisters gateline:

  420. timbeau says:

    @Mike P etc
    A usueful map, and I hadn’t realised entry/exit at Southwark was allowed (although it makes sense as the easiest way to get from London Bridge to Blackfriars during the closure) The map is wrong though to suggest the 17, 381 and RV1 pass Southwark station.

    It is now almost possible, with a London terminals ticket, to walk entirely from the north bank of the Thames at Blackfriars to Waterloo under cover, with just a brief dash in the rain from Blackfriars (south bank) to Southwark.

  421. strawbrick says:

    You have referred to a ““pink” touch at Highbury and Islington”.

    What on earth is that, and when am I supposed to use / do it?

    And where are the posters telling me where and why I should?

  422. timbeau says:


    It is essentially a “dummy OSI” ,and is provioded so you can prove to the system what route you took, but is made available at places where you can interchange without actually leaving the station. It proves that (in this case) you went via H&I rather than via Zone 1 (although in this specific example the touch in at West Hampstead LO station would, I should have that, be enough. But it would prove e.g Richmond to Walthamstow was done via H&I rather than via Victoria (neither route requiring an OSI so no other way of proving you did one or the other).

  423. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Strawbrick – I was referring to the route validators that have a pink coloured touch pad (target) rather than a yellow one. Timbeau has provided a decent explanation and good links. I would add two further bits of relevant info.

    1. There is a general emphasis that it is PAYG users who have to touch their card on a route validator. That is not correct. Anyone using PAYG or who has a non Zone 1 travelcard on Oyster who is travelling on a journey which avoids Zone 1 *must* touch on the identified route validators for the route they are taking. You may only take a route that has been specified by TfL in the Single Fare Finder. If you fail to touch your Oyster Card at the prescribed place or take a route avoiding Zone 1 that isn’t in the Fare Finder you are likely to be whacked with an extension fare charge for a via Zone 1 journey. For me it’s the “non Z1 travelcard” holders I feel sorry for because TfL’s info does NOT scream this requirement from the rooftops. I dread to think how many people get surcharged without knowing why or how to avoid the charge. When I was using a non Z1 Travelcard I had to make sure I checked my route options in advance to avoid being hit with an extension fare. I only really understood what to do because I asked an expert at LU some detailed questions before I left LU and had to pay fares. It was only my ongoing interest in Oyster that made me realise that I needed to ask the questions in the first place! Sometimes geeky levels of knowledge are a benefit.

    Again I doubt many people really understand the link between the Single Fare Finder and the route validator concept and how they make journeys on the rail network. People using contactless bank cards for non Z1 journeys also *have* to touch their bank cards on route validators and also *have* to comply with the routes set out in the Single Fare Finder.

    2. TfL did improve the wording on the notices on the route validators but it’s still not clear enough (IMO, of course). TfL have also introduced little video clips on Youtube to try to explain the various Oyster concepts and while they’re very pretty they don’t have quite the right level of detail (again that’s my view). They’re also out of date and don’t reflect the recent changes to daily caps. I did tweet TfL about this but got zero acknowledgement of my feedback.

    I happened to watch the recent Transport Committee webcast which featured TfL talking about ticketing. Shashi Verma of TfL was quite adamant that while the TfL fare structure is complex people can find their way through it with ease. He also failed to see the point in providing “big thick booklets” for passengers. I have to say I really do not agree but I’m a bit of “detail monster” so perhaps I’m happy with “big thick booklets”. The fact that the Oyster-Rail website gets regular traffic and the site owner answers a never ending torrent of Oyster and fares related questions shows there is a knowledge gap for passengers and that people cannot find what they need from TfL. I’ve lost count of tweets recently from people who cannot find the prices of Travelcard seasons on the TfL website. I keep giving them the same reply and pointing them at the relevant pdf file. I don’t think that’s a very satisfactory state of affairs but, again, I’m probably in a minority of one yet again.

  424. Matthew Dickinson says:

    The gate installation has led to some debate on Twitter

    No sign of any change at the Station Place National Rail entrance as yet..

  425. Melvyn says:

    While FP gets gates I noticed tonight that H&C entrance at Liverpool Street gates have been taken out of use for Crossrail works with passengers using Oyster needing to use standalone readerś.

    Counting usage at FP at present is also complicated by use of tunnel to simply cross through the station without boarding or alighting any trains something the closure of Station Place will mean only those wanting a train will enter the station while the rest will just get wet when it rains , especially if they want a bus in Station Place bus station … When it comes to bad publicity ahead of a election Finsbury Park Station could be it ..

  426. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Matt D – as I’m a cynical old so and so I think we can see that F Park might just have a bit of a fare dodging problem given that Twitter reaction. Alternatively there is something in “yoof” culture about ticket gates that has passed me by. 😉 Also interesting to note the problems from a couple of years ago when FCC installed their gates.

  427. ngh says:

    Re WW,

    Looks like the barriers will ” pay” for themselves fairly quickly given the reaction on twitter. Well worth TFL and TOCS putting a copy of that feed in the evidence file to used to justify the next gating schemes.

  428. Arkady says:

    @ngh – absolutely. The shrieking from the fare-dodgers is amazing. I suspect that once gated official numbers will rise, but despite that the station will feel quieter!

    I attended the first steering group meeting of a prospective Finsbury Park Station User Group last night. The TfL rep was quite convincing – they’ve done their numbers. Most interesting, though, is that they have tried and so far failed to convince NR to gateline *their* Station Place entrance, so the underground platforms will still be accessible via the spiral staircases for those who want to avoid a gateline.

  429. Greg Tingey says:

    Unless & until Spurs are playing Arsenal & people get crushed – those gates are narrow.

  430. Southern Heights says:

    Transitting Southwark is free on Oyster, and costs 10p (last time I heard) for a paper ticket…

  431. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Arkady – so let me get this correct. Wells Tce closes, half of Station Place is gated on the LU side but NR is not gated there. SS Road is gated. TSGN are keeping their gates on their platforms and the need to intermediately validate, if using PAYG / contactless, at the top of the spiral stairs remains? And there is still open access, albeit a bit convoluted, to the LU platforms via NR stairs and the spirals? What an unmitigated mess. It’ll take the fare dodgers 20 seconds to work out how to avoid their fares with that set up.

    Someone needs shooting or there needs to be serious “bashing of heads” to get a proper solution. If nothing else this proves my long held view that gating Finsbury Park is not feasible on its current physical layout as well as my shorter held view that some TOCs really don’t know how to do ticket gates. Sigh!

  432. WAGN says:

    NR platforms 1 and 2 (the main southbound platforms) were built ungated in 2013, so interchange from there into the Tube and the wider world will remain free. If they weren’t going to put a gateline outside, why didn’t they put one on those new platforms (which are as wide or wider than the platforms that do have gates)? The lack of a proper strategy for this station is comical.

  433. Arkady says:

    @WR & WAGN – yep, that’s about it. It does seem to be NR who are mostly at fault here. I suppose they do have something of a challenge, as an exterior gateline won’t cover interchanging passengers, but would mean that commuters entering at FP station would have to go through two gatelines. That doesn’t explain why some platforms are gated and others aren’t. I’d guess that if the Northern City Line and Hertford Loop were taken over by London Overground then you would see more platforms gated.

    I wonder whether they will end up gating the spirals. At the moment a real injustice could be created – the station could end up being closed because the platforms are overloaded, with that overload being disproportionally being caused by freeloaders using the spirals while honest commuters are held at gatelines. This could result in people flooding into the NR entrance to try for the spirals, blocking the interchange. Maybe this will encourage NR to gate their Station Place entrance?

  434. Matthew Dickinson says:

    I suppose TfL could always gate the top of the spiral staircases….

  435. ngh says:

    Re WW, MD & Arkady

    How about some part time enforcement of the gap LO style with staff and handheld Oyster readers. Best started a little while after the gates are in operation so those that do avoid have adjusted their habits so the avoidance can be calculated for future reference to show the value of properly sorting the gap?

  436. Greg Tingey says:

    Probably because there are gates at the top of most of the stairs on the NR platforms, installed not so long ago …..
    So, if you wanted to put gates in at the perimeter, you would want to take the “upstairs” ones, out, wouldn’t you?

    Agree every word & then some …..

    The “obvious” way of sorting this problem is an arc of gates, away from the cross-tunnel entrance & similar outside the NR entrance(s) & no internal gates, but some “pink readers” or equivalent as well.
    That way you avoid crowding & crushing in the tunnel mouths & free flow inside the station.
    I suppose it’s much too sensible to be implementd?

  437. Arkady says:

    @Greg – problem with removing the platform-level gates, as desirable as that might be, is that you no longer catch people interchanging between TfL & NR using the spirals.

    I saw a plan once that showed a large arching gateline under the Station Place roof, covering both the TfL and NR entrances. There are obvious problems with this (they couldn’t be easily secured at night) but it would have been great for an inflow/outflow perspective. I suspect that this is another example of the difficulty in attaining TfL/NR agreement when they have different funding and strategy issues.

  438. Arkady says:

    To add to the fun – I’ve just been told that NR engineers have just told FP staff that the new lifts will emerge at NR platform level exactly where the NR gatelines are now, so they will have to come up with an alternative gateline plan anyway!

  439. Malcolm says:

    ” problem with removing the platform-level gates, as desirable as that might be, is that you no longer catch people interchanging between TfL & NR using the spirals.”

    And why do we have to “catch” such people? Can’t Oyster work out from an entry at Bowes Park and an exit at Oxford Circus that the said passenger has used TfL and NR?

  440. Walthamstow Writer says:

    As I’m sure I’ve said before I dragged some very expensive consultants round Finsbury Park station over 20 years ago to explain the issues with gating the place and with doing smart ticketing. I said it wasn’t possible back then on the physical layout and it isn’t now. The new proposed ticket hall will help matters as it adds capacity but even that doesn’t look big enough to me. You simply cannot gate the “gap” between the top of the spiral stairs and the stairs to the NR platforms – there is no holding area for people needing to queue in the event you get a ticket or card reject and that means queues on spiral stairs which must be unacceptable in normal operation. There is definitely a lot of fare evasion at FP and that makes it all the more irksome that the constrained site makes it so hard to gate it effectively.

    It is worth saying that Oyster’s PAYG logic of “in” then “out” validations does not allow people to face two entry or two exit transactions in a row. One of those would end incurring a maximum fare. Therefore if you gate the perimeter then you cannot have gates on the NR platforms. I understand why they are there as it’s an attempt by TSGN / FCC to reduce evasion given the real problems with gating the stations north of F Park. However it’s a very one sided view of things and makes a mockery of dealing with the larger prize of gating Finsbury Park as a whole. If things continue as they currently area then you will never get FP fully gated at its perimeter even with the new western ticket hall. I note Arkady’s last post about the MIP lift positions – perhaps that might force a small outbreak of sanity.

    It’s a shame that there seemingly isn’t the money to improve and expand capacity at Haringay, Hornsey and Ally Pally stations to allow larger ticket halls or upper circulating areas to allow gates to be installed there. That would help reduce evasion but clearly needs significant spend and other benefits to justify such expenditure.

  441. timbeau says:

    “Can’t Oyster work out from an entry at Bowes Park and an exit at Oxford Circus that the said passenger has used TfL and NR”

    And what if they got on at Stevenage? Or Peterborough? Or changed at Stevenage off a train from Aberdeen?

    They have the same issue at Wimbledon, hence the regular ticket blitzes there.

  442. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Malcolm – clearly you do not *have* to gate interchanges. Oyster is perfectly capable of working from an origin / destination pair even if there is an open interchange between rail systems on the journey. It had to be capable of working like that because it was and remains impossible / unaffordable to gate every interchange between rail systems. You can’t gate cross platform interchanges such as Stratford, Highbury or Farringdon. To pick up on Timbeau’s “Stevenage / Edinburgh” point there will always be openings / gaps in the system that allow people in or out without needing to pass a ticket gate. You only get full gating if you build new and design it in from the start.

    I’m guessing but there seems to have been a policy change to try to regulate validation at some interchange points which are set out as an OSI within the station. Walthamstow Central is one such place. I am unclear where the policy initative has stemmed from – LU / TfL or the TOCs / DfT.

  443. Greg Tingey says:

    This was (one of the) problem(s) @ Stratford, with internal gate-lines, apart from the point repeated by WW about two entry-or-exits in a row.
    If it can be done there, because it had to be done, why not elsewhere?

    And WHC, also as mentioned by WW once we are past 1st June (approx) this year, when you will have to go through a double gateline & a tortuous course to … get from one TfL service to another …..

    Seriously, having an outer gateline + pink readers is the way to go, & not just at FPK.
    It’s simpler, cheaper to operate, & will validate the great majority of journeys.
    Trying to catch everybody reaches the point of diminishing returns, very quickly, but someone/the authorities do not seem to have noticed this yet.

    [minor editing for tone PoP]

  444. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Greg – you do not routinely need route validators at interchanges. They are only at those points where there is key non zone 1 interchange where several lines meet that can give you a valid non zone 1 route. Walthamstow Central doesn’t count – if it did it would have had them installed years ago. It is also worth saying that sometimes the non zone 1 route is the default fare in the system anyway and does not require specific “en route” validation. This is why people should always check their route options!

    Stratford’s interchange gateline was removed when PAYG was extended to National Rail. It was also unique on the LU system. People should not confuse OSIs and the interchange gateline concept. Sorry to repeat this but there are limits to how far you can “flex” the system design.

  445. Malcolm says:

    Oh yes, the ramifications of an oyster system with gatelines (sometimes open and unstaffed), gate-free validators, the pink ones, OSIs etc are endless and they are beginning to make my brain hurt. I suppose the thing I hadn’t properly appreciated is that adding gatelines will typically make things harder for cheats, and tend to be justified on those terms.

    I do not want to know what manner of thing is “an OSI (out of station interface) within a station”, so I am not asking for such a thing to be explained. Nor am I asking why you can optionally pass thru a gateline at Wimbledon without triggering any nasties (if you came off a tram), but it can not be arranged for people to pass through a second gateline on your way out of Finsbury Park. I think the four colour map theorem proof might be marginally easier to understand!

  446. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – through,through

  447. Malcolm says:

    … nor am I asking what Graham’s doubtless kindly meant pair of prepositions is supposed to signify. After spending a day on the A2, I don’t think there is room in my head for the answer anyway. (And I hope it does not involve sconcing, another one of life’s mysteries).

  448. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Malcolm – your head’s going to hurt I’m afraid.

    OSI in a station – the simplest example is the old arrangement at Kings Cross. You had to exit the tube side to the unpaid area and then re-enter the Sub Surface side if changing lines. All within Kings Cross but the two ticket halls were separate. Now no longer necessary because the station has been remodelled. More relevant examples with Oyster are where people change from LU to NR at say Victoria. There is also an OSI within Victoria NR between the South Eastern and South Central sides of the station. There are clearly legitimate journeys that can be made by interchanging between the two halves of the NR station.

    Wimbledon – I won’t do the detail. What I will say is that the checking logic is set up to allow you out if the last transaction on the card was an entry validation at a Tramlink stop. That’s easy. Going the other way all that happens is that your entry at the Wimbledon gateline is cancelled (and any PAYG deduction on entry is reversed) when you touch in on the tram validator and replaced with an entry transaction for Tramlink. This stops people being charged maximum fares. The basic logic checks to do this are straightforward even if people are bamboozled by the concept at Wimbledon.

  449. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – rather than thru, I fear. No excuse at all for that…

  450. Malcolm says:

    I do have an excuse for my fingers opting for the American spelling without my brain noticing, it’s quite simple, I’ve travelled the length of the M2 six times today.

    I do not have any excuse, however, for not knowing what you meant by your gentle chiding. I re-read my comment, but my inner subeditor was evidently still dormant.

  451. Graham H says:

    @Malcolm – Blimey! Even your average drugs importer doesn’t use the M2 that much!

  452. Arkady says:

    TfL’s stats on why they think the pavement under Seven Sister’s Road has sufficient capacity, and their station entry modelling, can be seen here:

  453. Pseudonymous says:

    @Matthew Dickinson, Walthamstow Writer, Arkady:
    You lot are rather prescient.

  454. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Pseudonymous – not prescient just laden with cynicism about some people’s motivation having been involved with revenue protection issues for a decent number of years. You can also add a “geek” level of interest in revenue matters pertaining to F Park going back 20+ years. 😉

    As a similar example I rode on the first NB4L which was on route 38 back in Feb 2012. On a peak time journey some locals boarded at Dalston and chatted to the conductor and worked out within 60 seconds that it was possible to board the bus and not pay or touch an Oyster Card. I dare say that thought pattern has repeated itself thousands of times as people encounter NB4Ls in use elsewhere in London even if TfL are saying the instance of revenue loss of NB4L routes is not significantly higher than normal OPO routes. Some people will always spot the loop hole.

  455. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Oh dear – TfL have just tweeted the following.

    “Finsbury Pk: planned works for Mon 20 April postponed until further notice. Wells Terr remains open. Touch in & out on readers as normal”

    Wonder what’s transpired?

  456. THC says:

    @ WW

    You’re quick! I’ve just received an email from TfL saying that the developers of the adjacent property (CityNorth?) had notified TfL that they were not in a position to proceed with work at this time and so the Wells Terrace entrance would remain open indefinitely.


  457. Arkady says:

    Wow. I attended the ‘meet the manger’ event yesterday and they were very confident that this was all going ahead. a lot of work has gone into it. They’ve had loads of extra staff leafleting the station in recent days. TfL are going to be seriously pissed off.

  458. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Arkady / THC – I’ve received the same TfL EMail plus Tom Edwards of the BBC has tweeted about it. I am quite surprised that this has been postponed at such a late stage. I understand the commercial negotiations about the west ticket hall have been “involved” (shall we say) and are obviously a factor in some of the delay to date. Given all that it’s a real surprise to have City North say they’re not ready. I agree TfL cannot be very happy about this at all given they forked out money, will have changed staff rosters, planned on the ticket office at Wells Terrace closing etc etc. Not good.

  459. Arkady says:

    The press are on it. City North have some questions to answer. What could it be? last minute funding collapse? Contractors gone under? I’m guessing that ‘bad publicity about the disruption’ isn’t the answer.

  460. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Arkady – I appreciate we have to be cautious but I have been having similar thoughts to you. This doesn’t feel right but I must confess to having long standing doubts about the City North scheme which may be colouring my views. The scheme is utterly out of scale for Finsbury Park – we can surely do better than another monstrous skyscraper block. I also feel it creates too much of a constraint on further improving the station and interchange and I’d rather nothing happened in the short term so a proper scheme that transforms the station could be brought forward and if it has to have some related “railway lands” development on top or alongside then so be it. Finsbury Park has the potential to be a mini Stratford if people plan it properly but I fear there’s no vision for that. Still I’m fed up with gentrification so I’d be happy to see Finsbury Park and Crouch Hill retain its character.

  461. Greg Tingey says:

    Is it appropriate to “horse-laugh” here?
    After all, it’s so well-known that private initiatives are always so much better & more efficient than the “state” at planning & execution ….
    Ask the IEA [Institute of Economic Affairs, a UK free-market think-tank. LBM] if you don’t believe me.

    Agree fully about this offering a golden chance for a better outcome, however, like Earl’s Court & the S end of Blackfriars’ Bridge, it’s only too likely that the chance will be thrown away, more’s the pity

  462. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Further funding has been approved to progress the step free works at Finsbury Park LU station. Note that the Estimated Final Cost is now projected to be over £1m higher than project authority. See the paper within the Projects Monitoring paper below.

    No mention of delays or issues related to the development project!

  463. Arkady says:

    Interesting. City North’s contractors fell through, so they’ve gone back out to tender.

  464. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Arkady – I wasn’t aware that the contractors had gone tits up. Probably just as well they hadn’t actually started on site and then gone bust.

    By way of a small diversion here’s a shot of a commuter train at Finsbury Park in times past.

    https:[email protected]/19921284036/

    Amazed at the condition of the platform surface. Presumably works were underway prior to the class 313s entering service.

  465. Nameless says:

    The DMU appears to be in platforms 6 and 7 and the surfacing works underway on the 7 and 8 island. I vaguely remember there was a lot of station housekeeping before GNE Moorgate services were introduced. After the trains went to Morrgate, Hertford Norths usually left from platform 8 (which became 6 and is now 8 again).

  466. Slugabed says:

    Just idle curiosity,really,but are there plans to re-instate Platforms 9/10 (the Down equivalents of the recently re-built 1/2)?

  467. mr_jrt says:

    …wasn’t that the next stage of upgrading the goods lines to passenger status?

  468. Paul says:

    Surely P7/8 are already the down direction “equivalents” of P1/2, AFAICT there are four platform faces for each direction, (three tracks in each direction)?

  469. mr_jrt says:

    Fair point. Just refreshed myself from Carto Metro, and as expected you’re quite correct.

  470. Ian J says:

    @WW: obviously “trip hazard” hadn’t been invented in the 1970s!

  471. Arkady says:

    TfL’s latest documentation indicates that the ticket gates will go live in November. More significantly, it says that before then ticket gates will be installed in the Wells Terrace entrance. It seems that TfL are not confident on the City North works starting soon.

    Between 2015-18 lifts will be installed which will service all Network Rail and London underground platforms. this will involve closure of the northbound stairs for 6-9 months in early 2016, and similar for the southbound stairs in early 2017.

  472. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Arkady – sounds to me like TfL don’t think City North are going to proceed at all or not for a very long time. Gates will give a big payback quickly at Finsbury Park but I’ve never heard of them being installed for a matter of weeks or months before a ticket hall is demolished.

    I find it most odd that they now believe they can squash in ticket gates into Finsbury Park when for years it’s been considered borderline impossible because of the crowding and lack of space. I imagine closing the Wells Terrace ticket office *might* give more space for a couple of extra gates but the demand levels have only gone in one direction and that’s upwards since I was last involved in trying to gate the place. While I half admire the “bravery” of whoever it is who believes gating will work in the current constrained physical environment I am sceptical it will work smoothly. How it can work with football traffic I simply don’t know – I guess they’ll have to leave the gates open but keep the Oyster readers live so people can touch in and out as necessary.

    Thanks for the update anyway. I assume the TSGN entrance at Station Place is to remain ungated thus leaving the local fare dodgers with a bypass route?

  473. Arkady says:

    It’s very odd. One possibility is that TfL have renegotiated the deal so that demolition of the Wells Terrace entrance comes later in the schedule of works. Then again, presumably the gates are recyclable.

    TfL tell me that they will crack down hard on fare evasion by having ticket inspectors at the bottom of the spiral stairs for a few weeks when the gates are activated.

    I actually suspect that it will actually make movement within the station easier – you won’t have non-passengers using the station as a cut-through, and people won’t create delays blocking the entrances as they try to get to the only card reader. And yes, TfL advised me that they would most likely leave the gates open on match days or if there is a crush risk.

  474. Greg Tingey says:

    Unfortunately, that could (could, not “will”) cause serious/dangerous tailbacks up/down said staircases.
    It is to be hoped not, of course.

  475. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Ticket gates are now in operation at all three tube entrances.

  476. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Matt D – even Wells Terrace?

    That rather suggests the property deal has fallen through / is badly delayed if TfL have gone ahead putting gates into an area that was going to be demolished.

    I shall have to go and observe the rush hour and how many are dodging round via the entrance that shall not speak its name. 😉

  477. Arkady says:

    The City North development has been delayed as the original contractor fell through. The developer is currently in negotiation with TfL about a fresh agreement. TfL want to limit the time that the station has no northwest entrance after the Wells Terrace entrance is closed. There has been a lot of local pressure and press on this issue. There is still some hope that the developer can be lent on to complete the new ‘western ticket hall’ before it undertakes any other works.

    The station feels half as busy as did before the gatelines. Some arguably legitimate complaints online about not being able to use the station as a cut-through, but mostly just fare-dodging whingers.

  478. Arkady says:

    I should also mention that the work-crews currently active on the City North site are mostly TfL/NR contractors doing prep work for the step-free access works, especially the new lifts – some of which will go all the way from the NR platforms down to the LU platforms.

    I’ll try to get a detailed update article up on this subject soon.

  479. Greg Tingey says:

    Quite a bit of work going on at track level on the NW side too ….
    Looks as though the remnants of the old island platform have finally gone & beyond the railway fence is a sea of mud, as well.
    When I came back, by bus, on Saturday, Woolwich Wanderers were playing at home & the gates at the main SW entrance were locked open, with plenty of police watching ….

  480. Arkady says:

    TfL told me that the work at the old island platform site is also connected to the lift works.

  481. Mat W says:

    Does anyone know the rationale for the complete closure of A1201 Stroud Green Road between Wells Terrace and Station Place i.e., underneath the railway bridges? This started yesterday 11th January for several weeks. Apart from a few portable road matrix signs it seems to have poorly communicated. I’ve tried searching online (including Islington road closures and TfL London register of roadworks) without success.

  482. Arkady says:

    TfL advised me that it’s related to the piling and crane-installation works at NR platform level, which are necessary before lift-shaft excavation can commence. They need the area under the bridge for access.

  483. Mat W says:

    @Arkady – thank you indeed

  484. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Looks like works have started at Finsbury Park.

    Look in the notes to see the reference to the City North development and “new investment partner”.

  485. Arkady says:

    Yep, they started end of last year, and the northbound stairs closed today.

    Someone should give me a deadline to turn in an article on this. I work best under pressure. And I just finished decorating my flat, so will actually have time.

  486. Melvyn says:

    I seem to remember that original plans talked of lifts direct from mainline to tube platforms but this was dependent on TFL and Mayor providing funding etc . Otherwise separate scheme for lifts would arise,

    I suppose the delay in providing lifts to mainline platforms has provided a 2nd chance to provide direct lifts . In fact if recent talk of TFL and Mayor taking control of most London rail services with Great Northern mentioned then direct lifts would not come up against ticketing issues if both were part of TFL .

    The events last year still show much more needs to be done to Finsburry Park Station to make it fit for today’s demands and this might include rebuilding station including provision of escalators .

  487. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Melvyn – the only way you properly fix Finsbury Park is a complete rebuild. That would cost an enormous sum of money and possibly be very disruptive. There is no sign of any appetite from anyone to expend such sums in suburban locations. The works at Finsbury Park will barely provide any improvement – they might drag capacity up to the level required 20 years ago. If Thameslink proves popular then the pressure at Finsbury Park will increase substantially. I’m not decrying the benefits that lifts will bring to certain groups of passengers but it’s not material in terms of easing the vast crush at Finsbury Park.

  488. Matthew Dickinson says:

    It is reported in the Metro that Wells Terrace entrance is to close from the 18th July.

  489. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Matt D – as per the TfL press release with soothing commentary about how little extra effort is need to schelp round to Station Place. 😉

  490. Nameless says:


  491. Paul says:

    WW has admitted to a lack of fitness in another current discussion, so I suggest he has coined a new word meaning schlep with help!

  492. Walthamstow Writer says:

    Hangs head in typo shame 🙁

  493. Mat W says:

    @Arkady, any chance please of the Finsbury Park article you kindly suggested earlier in the year given that the Wells Terrace entrance is now permanently closed and the work is underway on the LU staircases?

    Also, if not off topic, whose job is it to coordinate the multiple local road closures mostly linked to railway redevelopment including: (i) Stroud Green Road closed southbound under the ECML bridges for station works until December 2016 according to Islington or December 2017 according to the local road signs (ii) Wightman Road total closure for GOBLIN bridge replacement (iii) replacement of Highbury Corner bridge over Overground lines (iv) replacement of Upper Holloway bridge over GOBLIN line and last but not least (v) TfL’s Archway gyratory works? Thanks indeed

  494. Greg Tingey says:

    Mat W
    Probably the same people as are in charge of the changes at “Bus stop M” by Bow Church!
    [ See multiple Diamond Geezer” postings on that saga ]

  495. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Mat W – I am sure local traffic conditions are far from ideal but some of those works are unavoidable – Wightman Rd and Upper Holloway are both connected with GOBLIN electrification. They have to be done now or else no electric trains. As there are extremely limited opportunities for major blockades to happen (e.g. Christmas and Easter) then all the preliminary stuff has to be done in advance to allow any major lifts etc to occur on time). Network Rail have today announced that Wightman Rd reopens on 5 September as the last major physical works at the bridge take place this coming weekend. After that it’s plug the utilities back in and resurface and traffic can return.

    In terms of who is in charge then TfL will have a guiding hand in several of the schemes – it’s a sponsor of the Highbury Corner, Archway and Upper Holloway works and will is part funding GOBLIN electrification although most funding is via Network Rail. It also controls Red Routes. Islington as the borough will have the other key role as they manage local roads.

    It may be hell on earth for a number of months to have 4 schemes running concurrently but it’s *probably* better than having them run one after the other (even if that were possible) and inflict delays on an area for up to 3-4 years. In terms of things like altering traffic light timings and rescheduling buses it probably makes more sense to do lots of work together and cope with all the impacts together rather than the alternative.

    Much as we all like “kicking TfL in the goolies” for their alleged incompetence I would say there is no such incompetence here. You have several sets of important works that have to be done and which will facilitate other major transport improvements. We can’t keep ignoring road bridges over railways that are at the end of their economic lives – they have to be replaced just as lifts and escalators, trains, tracks and signals have to be. I’m less convinced about the “need” for the gyratory works at Archway and suspect the end result will be hideous, especially for bus passengers, but that’s a whole other debate.

  496. DVD says:

    @ Walthamstow Writer

    I think the Upper Holloway bridge replacement is due to the condition of the road bridge rather than connected to GOBLIN electrification (see I suppose it may also be linked to the electrification project.

    I share your concerns about the Archway plans. I know the area well having worked in Archway Tower for 10 years. There were several nasty RTAs involving pedestrians during that time, and the plans may I suppose help to mitigate that risk.

  497. quinlet says:

    TfL has the legal responsibility to ensure that road works on its own network and the strategic road network on borough roads are sufficiently coordinated.

  498. Mat W says:

    Thanks all and noted on TfL’s role to coordinate the roadworks on their network with the boroughs.

    Also noted that the rail-connected works are all necessary, not least for GOBLIN electrification and the subsequent new trains. That’s great news that Wightman Road is set to re-open soon. And I’m quite impressed with the forward planning from TfL and their contractors e.g., for Upper Holloway a new service bridge has already been installed ahead of the main bridge replacement works over Christmas 2016. All that said, it will be wonderful when the various road works are done and dusted.

  499. Melvyn says:

    Network Rail have announced the reopening of Wightman Road see –

  500. Mat W says:

    There’s a notice on the Finsbury Park tube northbound platform that ‘works to refurbish the main staircase and enable a new lift shaft to be constructed will take longer than initially planned’. Therefore the reduced stair access to and from the northbound platform will carry on till December 2016. From memory this was originally due to complete by the end of September. Let’s hope this isn’t a portent of things to come.

    In the meantime works are now underway on the station arches in Station Place and the Stroud Green Road southbound closure is still in effect. The walk from the W3/W7/210 bus stops in Wells Terrace seems to be going mostly OK from the few times I’ve done it recently.

  501. Walthamstow Writer says:

    @ Mat W – I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they are finding all sorts of horrors at Finsbury Park as they try to open up areas of the station that are long deserted or touch bits of the structure. The amount of water that has poured into the place for decades will no doubt prove to be a nasty welcome for the engineers and construction people.

  502. Mat W says:

    Finsbury Park update:

    1) According to the Islington Gazette, the southbound closure of Stroud Green Road will be in place until Spring 2018, significantly longer than Islington Council originally indicated. See the link in one of my earlier posts for context. There are concerns that there will be a serious accident as a result of the subset of drivers who ignore the road closure and drive through the chicane under the bridge. Currently it seems unclear whether TfL, Islington or Haringey (as the road forms the boundary between the two boroughs here) are responsible for policing the issue.

    2) And according to this article, the work to build the lift shaft to the northbound Victoria and Piccadilly line platforms is almost done and the closed staircase will re-open in mid-February after being closed for a year. However, one of the two main southbound staircases will then be closed from February 27 until late 2017 while the other lift shaft is built. This is expected to be even more disruptive due to the numbers of commuters travelling south in the morning rush-hour.

    @Arkady, any chance of that article please reminding us what the station will be like (included perhaps expected service patterns unless this has been covered elsewhere?) once all this is done and dusted? Thanks indeed in advance.

  503. Mat W says:

    Et voila … from the Islington Gazette:

    ‘Dangerous idiot’ gets stuck driving lorry wrong way through Finsbury Park bridge

    And based on a mail from TfL, today was the first day of reduced stair access to/from both southbound Tube platforms at Finsbury Park whilst the second new lift shaft is constructed. I’ve been cycling to work recently so has anyone experienced the new one-way system?

  504. Arkady says:

    It seemed OK this morning at 08:30ish. Not really any different to the previous one-way system, just a different set of stairs closed.

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