North London Line

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Richmond-Stratford-North Woolwich
North London Line route
Gauge : 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
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Connection to the Windsor Line
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Kew Gardens
Thames ( Kew Railway Bridge )
Plan-free intersection - above
Hounslow Loop Line
to the Hounslow Loop Line
Stop, stop
to the District Line
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District Line and Piccadilly Line
to the Hounslow Loop Line
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former branch of the District Line
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South Acton
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Stop, stop
Acton Central
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Great Western Main Line
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Central Line
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GW Chiltern Connection
to the West Coast Main Line
West London Line
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West Coast Main Line
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Willesden Junction DC Line / Bakerloo Line
to the DC Line
to the West Coast Main Line
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Kensal Green turning system
Kensal Green & Harlesden (1861–1873)
Stop, stop
Kensal Rise
Stop, stop
Brondesbury Park
Stop, stop
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Chiltern Main Line
Metropolitan Line & Jubilee Line
Station, station
West Hampstead
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Midland Main Line
Stop, stop
Finchley Road & Frognal
Hampstead Heath Tunnel
Stop, stop
Hampstead Heath
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Gospel Oak
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Gospel Oak – Barking railway line
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Midland Main Line
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Kentish Town West
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to the West Coast Main Line
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Camden Road
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3/4 four-track section
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to St Pancras / CTRL
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Midland Main Line
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to the East Coast Main Line
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Maiden Lane (1887-1917)
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East Coast Main Line
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Caledonian Road & Barnsbury
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Highbury & Islington Northern City Line
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to the East Coast Main Line
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Mildmay Park (1880-1934)
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Dalston Kingsland East London Line (from 2010)
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Dalston Junction (1865–1986, since 2010)
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Haggerston (1867-1940, since 2010)
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Hoxton (since 2010)
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Shoreditch (1865-1941)
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East London Line
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Broad Street (1865-1986)
to the Lea Valley Lines
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West Anglia Main Line
Stop, stop
Hackney Central
Stop, stop
Victoria Park (1856-1943)
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to the North London Railway to Poplar (1850-1944)
Stop, stop
Hackney Wick
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to the Lea Valley Lines
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Great Eastern Main Line
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Central Line
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Stratford terminus Jubilee Line
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Stratford turning system
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Stratford Market (1847-1957)
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District Line and Hammersmith & City Line
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London, Tilbury and Southend Line
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West Ham (closed to NLL 2006)
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Canning Town (closed to NLL 2006)
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Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf
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Former Route to Silvertown
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Tidal Basin (1858-1943)
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Custom House (closed to NLL 2006)
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Connaught Tunnel
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former route from Canning Town
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Silvertown & London City Airport (1863-2006)
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North Woolwich (1847-2006)

The North London Line is a railway line that runs through north London . The line describes a semicircle that begins in Richmond in the southwest and then runs north of downtown to the east of the city to Stratford . The route crosses many of the radial lines that begin in the city center, making it a faster and more convenient way to traverse the city without having to drive through the city center. Until 2006 the line continued in the east to North Woolwich, but this section of the line was closed after the expansion of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). Passenger trains from London Overground and freight trains operate on the North London Line .


The North London Line was formed by the merger of two other lines. The western part of the line, the North London Railway (NLR), ran from Richmond via Dalston to Broad Street Station just west of what is now Liverpool Street Station and was opened in 1869. The NLR also had a branch line from Dalston to Stratford, which was only used by freight trains after 1944.

The eastern part of the route was part of the line between North Woolwich via Stratford to Tottenham Hale . This was opened in 1846 as Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway and temporarily led to Palace Gates (Wood Green) near what is now Alexandra Palace station . As part of extensive line closings at the northern end, the northern terminus was moved to Tottenham Hale in 1963.

In 1979, a new train connection called the CrossTown LinkLine was established between North Woolwich and Camden Road. At the beginning there were no intermediate stops, the stations Hackney Wick and Hackney Central, which were closed in the 1940s, were later reopened in their old location, and Homerton station was rebuilt afterwards. Since the line was not electrified, the services were provided with diesel railcars . Simultaneously with the introduction of the CrossTown LinkLine, new platforms were built in West Ham to create a transition to the subway.

In the 1980s it was decided to close and demolish the Broad Street terminus. Meanwhile, the service of the connection between Stratford and Tottenham Hale was stopped and Lea Bridge station was closed. The two routes were connected under the name CrossTown LinkLine; although the line was electrified with busbars after the closure of Broad Street station , the trains were diverted to Broad Street to North Woolwich. British Rail marketed the new connection as the North London Link .

On December 9, 2006, the section between Stratford and North Woolwich was permanently closed to make way for the later extension of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) between Canning Town and Stratford International . The section south of Canning Town runs largely parallel to the DLR routes to Beckton and King George V , the section between Canning Town and Stratford parallel to the Jubilee Line .

On November 11, 2007, the management of the route was transferred from Network Rail to Transport for London . The line has since operated as part of the London Overground network. In connection with the promise to make investments in the infrastructure, Transport for London introduced the Oyster Card system with electronic tickets on this line as the first pure railway line . Since March 2011 the extended East London Line (ELL) has been using parts of the North London Line between Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington.

Previous offers

In addition to the initial services between Richmond and Broad Street, services were provided on the West Coast Main Line connecting Broad Street to Harrow & Wealdstone . Most of these trains used a branch between South Hampstead and Camden Road with a stop in Primrose Hill . The remaining trains ran via Hampstead Heath and reached the Watford Line at Willesden Junction . After Broad Street Station was closed, these services were only provided at peak times and were diverted to Liverpool Street via a new connection in Hackney . After frequent train cancellations and timetable changes, which provided for an arrival in London after the start of office hours as well as the departures of the evening trains unsuitable for office hours, the utilization of the trains was very low; these were completely discontinued after a few years.

In 2000, Anglia Railways (now National Express East Anglia ) set up a connection that used parts of the North London Line. Remnants of sweeping tracks can still be seen between Camden Road and Stratford, which should increase the capacity of the line. These trains, which ran five times a day at approximately two-hour intervals between Basingstoke and Chelmsford , were marketed under the name London Crosslink. The trains only stopped at major hubs like Staines , Feltham and Brentford . Stratford , Highbury & Islington , Camden Road (only some trains) and West Hampstead stations were served on the North London Line . A few years later, these services were canceled due to excessive costs and increasing capacity bottlenecks.

Inadequate advertising and lack of integration into existing services are held responsible for the failure of this offer. This led to travel times without a recognizable cycle pattern, to travel times that were significantly higher than those actually required and only a few connections at peak times. These conditions resulted in a utilization that was well below expectations. Some critics claim that the services were unpopular with the railway companies and were consequently insufficiently marketed and could have been more successful with a higher level of commitment. Many passengers who have used the trains, on the other hand, appreciate the convenience of traveling around London without having to change trains.


Most of the line runs in a semicircle through north London, with only Richmond and Kew Gardens stations south of the Thames . The Kew Railway Bridge crosses the river and the tracks are shared with the District Line of London Underground. The location of the eastern terminus varied over the years. From 1944 to 1985 it was Broad Street , then North Woolwich , and since 2006 it has been Stratford . The Hampstead Heath Tunnel runs under the elevated district of Hampstead between Finchley Road & Frognal and Hampstead Heath stations .

The line is consistently expanded to two lanes, between Camden Road and Dalston Kingsland there are three or four tracks in sections. The former section to North Woolwich was partially single-lane between Custom House and the terminus, the branch line to Broad Street was four-lane. The line is electrified with power rails between Richmond and Acton Central, between Camden Road and Dalston Kingsland (southern pair of tracks) and between Dalston Kingsland and Stratford . Overhead lines are used between Acton Central and Camden Road, between Camden Road and Dalston Kingsland (freight only), and between Dalston Kingsland and the Channelsea Junctions junction.

Closed stations

A number of stations on the original line have closed over time. This includes:

  • Maiden Lane - This station was located between Camden Road and Caledonian Road & Barnsbury on York Road, north of the goods warehouse of King's Cross station . Today the tunnel portal of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link is located there .
  • Mildmay Park - Located between Canonbury and Dalston Kingsland. It was in Mildmay Park between Newington Green and Balls Pond Road. The station was closed in 1934, presumably because of the short distance to Canonbury station. The ticket offices were located in brick piers and were demolished in 1980. Today only remnants of the platforms are left.
  • Victoria Park - Located between Homerton and Hackney Wick. This station was a large junction with a branch on the route between Old Ford Road and Bow Church (now Bow Church (DLR) ) that served this popular park in east London. The station has since been completely demolished and the tracks were relocated when the East Cross Route was built.

Branch to Broad Street

A branch of the North London Line ran from the Dalston junction to Broad Street terminus . Other stations on the route were Shoreditch , Haggerston and Dalston Junction . Although the tracks were removed after the closure, the route was largely preserved. Most of this route will be reused for the extension of the East London Line , with the new Haggerston and Dalston Junction stations being built.

Section to North Woolwich

On December 9, 2006, the section between Stratford and North Woolwich was closed.

All stations except the last two are still open, they are served by either the DLR or the Jubilee Line . The DLR branch to King George V , opened in 2006, runs largely parallel to the North Woolwich route and opens up the same area.


The technical diversity of the route is remarkable. It was originally electrified throughout with the former Southern's power rail system, with Richmond and Gunnersbury being operated jointly with the District Line of London Transport, with the separate return conductor rail being laid in the middle of the track. In the mid-1990s, sections with AC contact lines were added in the train of long-distance rail electrification, so that the multi-system multiple units, which are now indispensable here, pass several system changes on each journey, at least between Canonbury and Dalston Kingsland, this also happens without stopping.

The Silverlink passenger trains consist of two-system electric multiple units of the type Class 313 , which are equipped for busbars with 750 V direct current as well as for overhead lines with 25 kV alternating current. Each train consisted of three cars and was part of a 23-unit vehicle fleet that was also used on other Silverlink lines. As part of the London Overground project , they are to be replaced by Class 378 three-car trains in 2009 .

The North London Line was known to passengers for extremely poor service. The trains on this route were often congested and unreliable. Brief train cancellations were not uncommon and passengers on this line often had to rely on alternative routes. The train tickets were favorably recognized by most of the parallel bus routes. There are justified hopes that this situation will noticeably improve with the upcoming takeover of the route by Transport for London (TfL) and the link with the East London Line (from 2010).

See also


  • Vic Mitchell, Keith Smith: North London Line, Broad Street to Willesden Jn. via Hampstead Heath. Middleton Press, Midhurst 1997, ISBN 1-873793-94-4 .

Web links

Commons : North London Line  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files