Stock movements between the Northern City Branch and Highgate Depot before 1970

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tbwbear

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There is probably a simple answer to this but I seem to be missing something...

Wikipedia seems to suggest that the old GNR line from Highgate (high level) to Finsbury Park was used (until 1970) for Underground stock transfers between Highgate depot and the Northern City line. The stock was pulled over the unelectrified line by battery locomotives.

The Highgate (high level) to Finsbury Park line (now the parkland walk) crossed to the east side of the ECML and terminated in the high level station at Finsbury Park. It was, of course, to have been part of the "Northern Heights" plan of the late 30s and the line was to have been linked via ramps to the Northern City Line at Drayton Park after which the Northern City Finsbury Park underground platforms would have closed.

If I understand correctly: the ramps were built before the Northern Heights scheme was abandoned in 1950, but track was never laid. The Northern City line continued to use the tunnels at Finsbury Park until the coming of the Victoria line in the late 60s, it was then truncated at Drayton Park. The track was finally laid on the ramps just before the GN Electric service began in 1976.

So what was the exact route of these trains from Highgate to the Northern City Line - where was the connection between the Northern City line and the outside world ?

I am assuming it must have been at Drayton Park depot, but I cannot find a map online ? Any maps online would be useful.

Any photographs of these trains on the Highgate to Finsbury Park line ?

How were the stock movements conducted between 1970 (when the Highgate to Finsbury Park line closed) and 1975 ?
 
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RT4038

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There is probably a simple answer to this but I seem to be missing something...

Wikipedia seems to suggest that the old GNR line from Highgate (high level) to Finsbury Park was used (until 1970) for Underground stock transfers between Highgate depot and the Northern City line. The stock was pulled over the unelectrified line by battery locomotives.

The Highgate (high level) to Finsbury Park line (now the parkland walk) crossed to the east side of the ECML and terminated in the high level station at Finsbury Park. It was, of course, to have been part of the "Northern Heights" plan of the late 30s and the line was to have been linked via ramps to the Northern City Line at Drayton Park after which the Northern City Finsbury Park underground platforms would have closed.

If I understand correctly: the ramps were built before the Northern Heights scheme was abandoned in 1950, but track was never laid. The Northern City line continued to use the tunnels at Finsbury Park until the coming of the Victoria line in the late 60s, it was then truncated at Drayton Park. The track was finally laid on the ramps just before the GN Electric service began in 1976.

So what was the exact route of these trains from Highgate to the Northern City Line - where was the connection between the Northern City line and the outside world ?

I am assuming it must have been at Drayton Park depot, but I cannot find a map online ? Any maps online would be useful.

Any photographs of these trains on the Highgate to Finsbury Park line ?

How were the stock movements conducted between 1970 (when the Highgate to Finsbury Park line closed) and 1975 ?

There was a connection between Drayton Park and Finsbury Park High Level.
Although the Finsbury Park-Highgate line was double track, only one line was used, as there was a temporary support column obstructing one track under a bridge at one of the old stations.
When use of this line ceased, the stock transfer took place via the widened lines, and a crossover connection at Farringdon onto the Circle/Metropolitan line. Were the trains maintained at Neasden from this point?
 

swt_passenger

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I don’t know the exact route taken, but at a suitable scale the OS maps of the time (for much of the London area) are practically as good as a track layout plan, eg here:


Looks to me as if there was a connection just north of Drayton Park‘s up platform that burrowed under the various Canonbury tracks and headed towards the up side of Finsbury Park, but probably needed some shunting...

I think the connection I’m referring to is visible at 1m 05s in this video:
 
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RT4038

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How did the trains fit up the stairs at Moorgate?
With difficulty, especially on the corners. So for ease they went Drayton Park - Finsbury Park HL (reverse) - King's Cross York Road - Farringdon (reverse) and onto the Metropolitan Railway.
 

Rogmi

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The 1953 OS map shows what I assume to be is the link to / from the SB platform 1 at Drayton Park - a single track from a crossover at the north end of the platform. The track goes under the mainline, reappearing again where the Goods and Coal Depot is (to the right of “Depot”).

However, the track goes into the Goods Depot and there appears to be no direct access from there to Finsbury Park. The alternative being a shunt from the Goods Depot to the main line towards the Canonbury tunnel, then on to Finsbury Park from there.

Edit 13:00
In fact, looking at the Goods Depot, it would have been very easy to join the track from Drayton Park (it ends up as the far left siding) to the main line as the main line runs parallel to the Depot and can end up in same far right platforms at Finsbury Park where the lines from Alexanander Palace terminate. Perhaps this is what they did and the connection is just not shown on the map.



There is no ramp shown to / from NB platform 2, presumably because the rails hadn’t been laid?

The OS map shows the route of the track from Alexander Palace to Finsbury Park

One of the problems I’ve found with the OS maps is that, although a published date might be stated (in this case, Surveyed / Revised 1953 Published 1954), sometimes, if the publication is based on a revised earlier map rather than a new survey, the published map may not always be correct. Also, unless there’s structures involved, an OS map may not show the paths of tracks where the tracks have been removed or not yet laid.


Drayton Park Facebook page showing ramp in use and many other interesting photos:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/gary.fox54.co.uk/posts/

NLS Drayton Park area map 1953:

https://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=19&lat=51.55416&lon=-0.10600&layers=170&b=1


The Carto Metro map shows the disused route from Alexander Palace to Finsbury Park, but not the disused connection between Drayton Park and Finsbury Park. Depending on much the disused connection deviates from the existing NR connection (and if there’s space to show it), I’ll see if it’s worth passing the details on to Franklin.
 
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Journeyman

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I don’t know the exact route taken, but at a suitable scale the OS maps of the time (for much of the London area) are practically as good as a track layout plan, eg here:


Looks to me as if there was a connection just north of Drayton Park‘s up platform that burrowed under the various Canonbury tracks and headed towards the up side of Finsbury Park, but probably needed some shunting...

I think the connection I’m referring to is visible at 1m 05s in this video:
What a fascinating piece of film that is! The line never seemed to attract much interest, but it was significant for being the last outpost of Standard Stock. Those 2-car off-peak services were interesting to see.

The abortive Northern Heights scheme always fascinated me, and the Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace walk was the first disused railway I properly explored. It's interesting to speculate what would have happened if it had been completed. Would the GN electrification have seen BR taking the line back again?
 

rebmcr

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With difficulty, especially on the corners. So for ease they went Drayton Park - Finsbury Park HL (reverse) - King's Cross York Road - Farringdon (reverse) and onto the Metropolitan Railway.
Ah I misunderstood "use of this line ceased" to mean the original Drayton Park to Finsbury HL section.
 

Dave W

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No the only bit abandoned was the line between Finsbury Park and Highgate Depot (with an additional branch to the west side of Alexandra Park - Ally Pally was well connected!)

As mentioned it's part of the Parkland Walk today - lots of rail stuff lying around including platforms, a few other relics and the gated off tunnels at the Highgate end. A short hike along a couple of roads in Highgate brings you to Cranleigh Gardens where you can pick up the branch (the triangle can still be ascertained - the curve of Lanchester Road follows the north side - but a school's on the alignment so you can't follow it round the top of the wood).

Although the Finsbury Park-Highgate line was double track, only one line was used, as there was a temporary support column obstructing one track under a bridge at one of the old stations.

Funnily enough, on the subject of temporary support struts, there's a VERY rudimentary jack holding up the bridge over Stanhope Road - nothing heavier than my fat rear and bike goes over that though(!) - Haringey Council are embarking on a round of infrastructure improvements and repairs, including that bridge and the viaduct over Ferme Park Road (which carried Stroud Green station). They've already done some embankment work. I found it interesting that this is the council, not TfL or NR, although I suspect this is something to do with maintaining the roads involved. On the North Parkland Walk (the AP branch) there are signs advising no digging due to buried cables - these look very much like Underground signs - the font gives it away - so perhaps that part at least is still the responsibility of TfL.

Very much a case of what if - the W7 is one of the busiest bus routes in North London and it only runs for about 20 minutes, from Muswell Hill Broadway to Finsbury Park via Muswell Hill itself, Crouch End and Stroud Green. Each of the stations is either on or within 5 minutes walk of that route.
 

RT4038

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The abortive Northern Heights scheme always fascinated me, and the Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace walk was the first disused railway I properly explored. It's interesting to speculate what would have happened if it had been completed. Would the GN electrification have seen BR taking the line back again?
I have always mused at how complicated the Northern Line service could have become, with trains leaving Edgware via Golders Green or Mill Hill East to Camden Town thence to Kennington either via Charing Cross or Moorgate (City Branch); or via Mill Hill East and Finsbury Park to Moorgate (Northern City Line). Delicious! Hopefully in those days every possible combination would have been scheduled.

I suspect GN electrification would have been very different, and not involved the Northern City line at all.
 
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bassmike

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The origional connection was from Drayton park depot up a steep ramp to G N sidings . The ramp remained in use as a storage/reversing siding until I think the end of Northern line operations ,but cut off short at the top. It is evident in many pictures over the years.
 

Journeyman

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I have always mused at how complicated the Northern Line service could have become, with trains leaving Edgware via Golders Green or Mill Hill East to Camden Town thence to Kennington either via Charing Cross or Moorgate (City Branch); or via Mill Hill East and Finsbury Park to Moorgate (Northern City Line). Delicious! Hopefully in those days every possible combination would have been scheduled.

I suspect GN electrification would have been very different, and not involved the Northern City line at all.
I suspect you're right. I think that some degree of separation of Northern line services would have happened to make it simpler to operate.
 

tbwbear

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Thanks for all the fascinating replies and the wonderful youtube video. It is obviously that connection next to the southbound platform at Drayton Park then, although like Rogmi I seem to get a bit lost in the goods depot when I follow the NLS map.


have always mused at how complicated the Northern Line service could have become, with trains leaving Edgware via Golders Green or Mill Hill East to Camden Town thence to Kennington either via Charing Cross or Moorgate (City Branch); or via Mill Hill East and Finsbury Park to Moorgate (Northern City Line). Delicious! Hopefully in those days every possible combination would have been scheduled.

I suspect GN electrification would have been very different, and not involved the Northern City line at all.

The whole Northern Heights thing is certainly fascinating.

As far as I can gather, apparently the initial planned 1940/41 (sans Hitler) peak service proposal was 28 trains an hour over the Moorgate branch to Drayton Park with 14 peak services ending up in the original Northern City Tunnels under Finsbury Park. (current Southbound Picc /Vicc lines). 14 services would then have gone up the "ramps" to Finsbury Park high level and then along the branch towards Highgate High Level.

I think 7 were supposed to go up to Alexandra Palace and the other 7 on to East Finchley (effectively passing Highgate Depot on the way), and on to Finchley Central, extended to High Barnet in the rush. No Northern City service to the Mill Hill East / Edgeware and Bushey line was initally planned.

There would have been 21 trains an hour from Camden (originating from both Bank and Charing Cross branches) via the then new tube connection via Highgate (low level) to East Finchley with 7 ending at Finchley Central, 7 on to High Barnet and 7 going on via Mill Hill East over the new connection into Edgeware and then on to Bushey.

It seems all the trains on the Bushey extension would have gone via Finchley.

The Edgeware Branch itself would have continued to operate as before and almost as it does today via Bank and Charing Cross.

Not sure why the Bushey trains were not also to be routed via Hendon, it doesn't seem to be longer, but I suppose it would have made things simpler.

Of course that was only the original service projection, it could have changed over the subsequent years. Although surely if they had then added Nine Elms on top of all that it would have cracked ! :)


IIRC, one of the late 1940s scheme proposals took the Northern Heights completion for granted and had the GN Welwyn and Hertford North lines feeding into the then proposed southbound Victoria line alignment at Finsbury Park, presumably using brand new tubes.

I think the eventual Victoria line solution with the cross platform interchanges at Finsbury Park and Highbury and Islington was more elegant, it is just a shame that the Alexandra Palace branch missed out as that would probably be a very well-used link now.
 
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Journeyman

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I wonder if completion of the Northern Heights scheme as planned would have led to the GN electrification going to Moorgate via the Widened Lines?

When did through services from Broad Street to the GN stop running?
 

tbwbear

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I wonder if completion of the Northern Heights scheme as planned would have led to the GN electrification going to Moorgate via the Widened Lines?

When did through services from Broad Street to the GN stop running?
1976 IIRC correctly
 

rebmcr

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Of course that was only the original service projection, it could have changed over the subsequent years. Although surely if they had then added Nine Elms on top of all that it would have cracked ! :)
I think it would have cracked far earlier than that, due to dangerously-overcrowded stations in what's now Zone 1.
 

Mikey C

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Funnily enough, on the subject of temporary support struts, there's a VERY rudimentary jack holding up the bridge over Stanhope Road - nothing heavier than my fat rear and bike goes over that though(!) - Haringey Council are embarking on a round of infrastructure improvements and repairs, including that bridge and the viaduct over Ferme Park Road (which carried Stroud Green station). They've already done some embankment work. I found it interesting that this is the council, not TfL or NR, although I suspect this is something to do with maintaining the roads involved. On the North Parkland Walk (the AP branch) there are signs advising no digging due to buried cables - these look very much like Underground signs - the font gives it away - so perhaps that part at least is still the responsibility of TfL.
Wow, as someone who regularly walks over the top, I had no idea!

 

Dave W

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Wow, as someone who regularly walks over the top, I had no idea!


Me neither til I moved to Crouch End a few weeks ago - now I'm haunting these parts regularly I'm discovering all sorts around the Parkland Walk I only used to see from above!

Today I saw one of the Haringey parkkeepers drive one of their buggies across it o_O - so maybe it's safer than that thing looks!!!
 

Mikey C

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Me neither til I moved to Crouch End a few weeks ago - now I'm haunting these parts regularly I'm discovering all sorts around the Parkland Walk I only used to see from above!

Today I saw one of the Haringey parkkeepers drive one of their buggies across it o_O - so maybe it's safer than that thing looks!!!
They've done some quite brutal tree cutting on the viaducts recently, which has been unpopular, but you wonder what condition they are in...
 

172101

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How did the trains fit up the stairs at Moorgate?
When the link to Highgate Depot closed, the stock was transfered via Finsbury Park, York Road station, Kings X Met to Farrington then reversed and crossed over onto the Inner Circle via Baker St to Neasden Depot, where the stock was then maintained. I worked in Kings X Power Box at this time and it ran through York Road past the Box about midday. The saddest time was when the mangled wreck of the train and the rubble was being clearing from the tunnel at Moorgate after the crash, as the only way out was over this route to Neasden, so everyone could see it.
 

Lucan

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Any photographs of these trains on the Highgate to Finsbury Park line ?
Yes, on the Disused Station website under Crouch End. there is a July 1969 photo of 38 Tube Stock being hauled through the station by a battery loco.
http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/c/crouch_end/index.shtml

Although the Finsbury Park-Highgate line was double track, only one line was used, as there was a temporary support column obstructing one track under a bridge at one of the old stations.
The same photo above, and some others, shows the strut under the Crouch End station buildings and road bridge, with its foot in the 4ft way of the down line. For that reason the Highgate-bound train appears to be running "wrong line", although the former up line was being worked as a single line of course. The strut seems to have been a bit more than temporary; according to the dates on the photos it appeared some time between late 1968 and mid 1969, and lasted until at least 1974.
 

Mikey C

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Me neither til I moved to Crouch End a few weeks ago - now I'm haunting these parts regularly I'm discovering all sorts around the Parkland Walk I only used to see from above!

Today I saw one of the Haringey parkkeepers drive one of their buggies across it o_O - so maybe it's safer than that thing looks!!!
Haringey plan to replace the bridge

 

Dave W

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Haringey plan to replace the bridge


"Equality Act compliant" suggests they might just knock the whole thing down and have a crossing on the road... Hope not!
 
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