Northern Line

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Northern line flag box.svg
Northern Line route
Northern Line routes
Route length: 57.6 km
Gauge : 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
Line color: black
Opening year: 1890
Line type: Tubular track
Stations: 50
Depots: 4 (Golders Green, Morden, Highgate, Edgware)
Type of train used: 1995 Tube Stock
Passengers: 252,310,000 (annually)
Northern Line
Bushey Heath
not built section
Aldenham Works
Elstree South
Brockley Hill
High barnet
Edgware Depot
High Barnet parking area
connection not established
Edgware (LNER)
LNER to Mill Hill East
Burnt Oak
Totteridge & Whetstone
Woodside Park
Mill Hill (The Hale)
Hendon Central
West Finchley
Brent Cross
Mill Hill East
Dollis Brook Viaduct
Finchley Central
Golders Green
Golders Green Depot
East Finchley
Highgate Depot
North end
LNER to Finsbury Park
Belsize Park
Tufnell Park
Kentish Town
Chalk Farm
South Kentish Town (1907-1924)
Camden Town
Mornington Crescent
King's Cross St. Pancras
Warren Street
fishing rod
Goodge Street
City Road (1901-1922)
Tottenham Court Road
Old Street
Leicester Square
Moor gate
Charing Cross
King William Street (1890-1900)
London Bridge
Elephant & Castle
Turning loop
(under construction) Nine Elms
Stockwell Depot
(under construction) Battersea
Clapham North
Clapham Common
Clapham South
Tooting Bec
Tooting Broadway
Colliers Wood
South Wimbledon
Morden Depot
missing section

The Northern Line is a metro -line of the London Underground . It is 57.6 kilometers long, has 50 stations (36 of which are underground) and crosses the urban area in a north-south direction. Your line identification (e.g. on the line network map) is black. With 252.3 million travelers annually, it is the second most frequented line in the entire underground network. The Northern Line was created from the merger of the predecessor companies City and South London Railway and Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway .


The creation of the Northern Line

City and South London Railway train
Creation of the Northern Line

The City and South London Railway (C & SLR), London's first underground tube railway , opened on December 18, 1890. It was created under the direction of James Henry Greathead , who had already built the Tower Subway . The C & SLR was the world's first electrically powered subway; the line led from Stockwell to the now closed King William Street station in the City of London . This station was poorly placed and soon reached its capacity limits.

The railway had the reputation of being a sardine can, as the wagons were very narrow and only had small viewing slits. One of these cars can be seen today at the London Transport Museum . The King William Street station was closed on February 24, 1900 and replaced by a new route via Bank , which led to Moorgate . By 1907 the C & SLR was extended at both ends; to the north to Euston , to the south to Clapham Common .

The Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway (CCE & HR), also known as the Hampstead Tube , began operating in 1907. The route led from Strand (now Charing Cross ) to Golders Green or Highgate (now Archway ). In 1914, a short extension to the south to Embankment followed , in order to enable better transfer options to the District Line .

In 1913 the two companies merged and in the 1920s, connecting lines were created at Camden Town and Kennington . The tunnels of the C & SLR were widened to adapt them to the standard diameter. This required a temporary shutdown: the Euston - Moorgate Street section was closed on August 8, 1922 and reopened on April 20, 1924, the Moorgate Street - Clapham Common section was closed from November 28, 1923 to December 1, 1924.

The line was extended to Morden in the south and Edgware in the north . It was initially called Morden-Edgware Line , from 1937 it was called Northern Line. All stations on the extension to Morden were created in a uniform style according to plans by the architect Charles Holden . After nationalization in 1933, the Northern City Line between Moorgate and Finsbury Park was part of the underground network. It operated as part of the Northern Line, but was never connected to it.

The Northern Heights Plan

In June 1935, London Transport published an ambitious expansion plan. This involved the conversion of a number of routes over the northern ranges of hills (Northern Heights). Owned by the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), these lines were built by the Edgware, Highgate and London Railway in the 1860s and 1870s .

A connection between Highgate and an above-ground suburban railway line of the LNER was planned; this led from Finsbury Park to Edgware (with branches to Alexandra Palace and to High Barnet ). The line to be taken over should also be extended to Bushey Heath and to a new depot at Aldenham . The route on which trains with steam locomotives operated should be electrified . In addition, a connection to the Northern City Line was to be built at Finsbury Park.

Work began in the late 1930s but had to be interrupted because of World War II. The work on the Highgate connection and on the branch to High Barnet was already very advanced, so that these parts could be put into operation in 1941. A single track on the LNER line to Edgware was electrified as far as Mill Hill East in order to open up the barracks there. The Northern Line thus reached its present size. The already completed depot at Aldenham served as a production facility for Halifax bombers during the war and was then converted into a repair shop for buses .

After the war, the government declared the area beyond Edgware as part of the Green Belt, a 5–10 kilometer wide green belt around London. For this reason the extension to Bushey Heath was never built. The funds made available instead flowed into the eastern extension of the Central Line , and the Northern Heights plan was finally filed.

The railway line from Finsbury Park to Muswell Hill and Alexandra Palace was closed for passenger traffic in 1954. A local advocacy group, the Muswell Hill Metro Group , is campaigning for this line to reopen as a light rail . A popular cycling and hiking trail now runs along the old route .

Developments since 1975

In 1975 the Northern City Line between Moorgate and Finsbury Park was again a pure railway line and transferred to British Rail . Today it belongs to the national infrastructure company Network Rail and is used by trains of the First Capital Connect railway company . In the summer of 1999, the Kennington - Moorgate section had to be closed for two months in order to be able to renovate the facilities.

In 2003 a train derailed at Camden Town station , severely damaging switches and signals . Trains could not cross each other during the repair work: Trains from Edgware only ran the route via Bank, while trains from High Barnet and Mill Hill East were only allowed to use the route via Charing Cross. After a lengthy analysis and testing phase, the old situation was restored on March 7, 2004.


Battersea Extension

By 2020, the Charing Cross branch line is to be extended by two stations from its previous terminus at Kennington to Battersea, in a later phase to Clapham Junction station . The planned terminus in Battersea will be on the site of the decommissioned Battersea Power Station . Four options were discussed for the route: Option 1 is a connection without a stopover, Option 2 provides for a stopover in Nine Elms, Option 3 a route via Vauxhall station , where two new platforms would be built (with the possibility of changing to the Victoria Line and to South Western Main Line ), and Option 4 has a stop near the planned new US embassy. Mayor Boris Johnson set a budget of £ 560 million for the plan. The council of the London Borough of Wandsworth then determined option 2 as the one to be implemented, the intermediate station Nine Elms is to be built on what is now a parking lot of a Sainsbury’s branch. Johnson gave the project the go-ahead in December 2010.

The exact route has already been planned and is currently being discussed with the owners of the properties under which the tunnels are to run, as construction and rescue shafts have to be set up, among other things. Two individual tunnel tubes are planned, which are only intended to merge at the stations. Both will branch off at the current turning loop immediately behind the Kennington station at about the same height and only run parallel to the intermediate station Nine Elms. After this stop, the tunnels run parallel to the Battersea terminus, behind which a sweeping system will be built.

The preparatory measures began in 2015. In November 2017, the tunnel bores were completed. In 2020, the extension should go into operation after the last test drives.

Division into two lines

From an operational point of view, a division of the branches into independent lines has been planned for a long time in order to increase the traffic density in the inner city from 20 to 22 trains per hour to 32. So far, the trains have to wait for approval before the junction at Camden Town. The planned routes would then be High Barnet / Mill Hill East – Charing Cross – Kennington (–Battersea) and Edgware – Bank – Morden. In the event of a split, one of the branches would have to be renamed and it would be given a new color in the network plan. It is currently planned that the Northern Line will operate on the two separate routes from 2023, as can be seen from the documents relating to the train order. However, this requires a rebuilding of the Camden Town train station, which is also the main cost driver of the project. Here, the connections between the stations of the two branches are to be improved. As a provisional increase in capacity, since the end of 2010 all trains to / from Morden have been running exclusively via the bank outside of peak hours, those via Charing Cross end in Kennington. Cruising is still practiced in Camden Town.

Fit for the future

As part of the Transport for London investment program Fit for the future from 2014, it is planned to achieve a higher capacity in addition to the extension to Battersea by 2022. One of the goals for the line is to increase the number of passengers by up to 18,000 additional passengers per hour with a 50% higher capacity on all routes.


Since 2014, the Northern Line has been operating outside of rush hour traffic with the following train density:

  • 10 trains per hour between Edgware and Kennington via Charing Cross
  • 10 trains per hour between Edgware and Morden via Bank
  • 10 trains per hour between High Barnet and Kennington via Charing Cross
  • 10 trains per hour between High Barnet and Morden over Bank
  • 4 trains per hour between Mill Hill East and Finchley Central

With the exception of the Mill Hill East – Finchley Central section, a 3-minute cycle is offered on all line sections. From stations on the Charing-Cross route you have to change to the south in Kennington, the other way round you have to change from the south with a destination on the Charing-Cross route in Kennington.

24 hour service

Since September 2015 there has been a 24-hour service from Edgware / High Barnet to Morden via Charing Cross on Friday and Saturday nights. Other branches of the route are not served. At night trains run approximately every 8 minutes between Morden and Camden Town and approximately every 15 minutes between Camden Town and High Barnet or Edgware.


from north to south:

High barnet route

Edgware range

Common section

Charing Cross route

Entrance to Leicester Square underground station

This section is also known as the West End Branch .

  • Mornington Crescent - opened June 22, 1907; closed on October 23, 1992, reopened on April 27, 1998
  • Euston - opened June 22, 1907
  • Warren Street - opened as Euston Road on June 22, 1907, renamed Warren Street on June 7, 1908
  • Goodge Street - opened June 22, 1907 as Tottenham Court Road ; renamed Goodge Street on March 9, 1908
  • Tottenham Court Road - opened as Oxford Street on June 22, 1907; renamed Tottenham Court Road on March 9, 1908
  • Leicester Square - opened June 22, 1907
  • Charing Cross - opened June 22, 1907 as Charing Cross ; renamed Charing Cross (Strand) on September 6, 1914; renamed Strand on May 9, 1915; closed on June 16, 1973; reopened as Charing Cross on May 1, 1979
  • Embankment - opened April 6, 1914 as Charing Cross (Embankment) ; renamed Charing Cross on May 9, 1915; renamed Charing Cross (Embankment) on August 4, 1974; renamed Embankment on September 12, 1976
  • Waterloo - opened on September 13, 1926

Bench stretch

This section is also known as the city ​​branch .

  • Euston
  • King's Cross St. Pancras - opened May 12, 1907 as King's Cross for St. Pancras ; closed on August 8, 1922; reopened April 20, 1924; renamed King's Cross St Pancras in 1933; closed on November 18, 1987; reopened March 5, 1989, closed October 14, 1995; reopened on June 17, 1996
  • Angel - opened November 17, 1901; closed on August 8, 1922; reopened on April 20, 1924
  • City Road - opened November 17, 1901; closed on August 8, 1922
  • Old Street - opened November 17, 1901; closed on August 8, 1922, reopened on April 20, 1924
  • Moorgate - opened as Moorgate Street on February 25, 1900, closed on November 28, 1923, reopened as Moorgate on April 20, 1924
  • Bank - opened February 25, 1900, closed November 28, 1923, reopened April 20, 1924, closed July 2, 1999; reopened on September 5, 1999
  • King William Street - opened December 18, 1890, closed February 24, 1900
  • London Bridge - opened February 25, 1900, closed November 28, 1923, reopened April 20, 1924, closed July 2, 1999; reopened on September 5, 1999
  • Borough - opened February 25, 1900, closed July 16, 1922, reopened February 23, 1925, closed July 2, 1999; reopened on September 5, 1999
  • Elephant & Castle - opened December 18, 1890, closed November 28, 1923, reopened April 20, 1924, closed July 2, 1999; reopened on September 5, 1999

Morden route

Entrance to Clapham South Station
  • Kennington - opened December 18, 1890, closed May 31, 1923, reopened July 6, 1925
  • Oval - opened December 18, 1890, closed November 28, 1923, reopened December 1, 1924
  • Stockwell - opened December 18, 1890, closed November 28, 1923, reopened December 1, 1924
  • Clapham North - opened June 3, 1900 as Clapham Road , closed November 28, 1923, reopened December 1, 1924, renamed Clapham North on September 13, 1926
  • Clapham Common - opened December 18, 1890, closed November 28, 1923, reopened December 1, 1924
  • Clapham South - opened September 13, 1926
  • Balham - opened September 13, 1926
  • Tooting Bec - opened as Trinity Road (Tooting Bec) on September 13, 1926; renamed Tooting Bec on October 1, 1950
  • Tooting Broadway - opened September 13, 1926
  • Colliers Wood - opened September 13, 1926
  • South Wimbledon - opened September 13, 1926
  • Murden - opened September 13, 1926

Web links

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

Individual evidence

  1. ^ London Underground - Performance Data . Transport for London website (Performance Data Almanac). Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  2. Proposal for a Northern Line Extension to Nine Elms & Battersea ( Memento of the original from May 31, 2012 on WebCite ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Mayor approves £ 5.5bn Battersea Power Station revamp
  4. Project brochure for the extension to Battersea
  5. Press release from TfL
  6. ^ Jubilee and Northern Lines Additional Trains. Transport for London, July 30, 2015, accessed August 8, 2016 .
  7. ^ New plans to rebuild Camden Town station unveiled by TfL. October 12, 2015. Retrieved August 8, 2016 (UK English).
  8. Fit for the future, p. 14
  9. ^ TfL: The Night Tube. Retrieved May 5, 2016 .