City & Northern Light Railway

The Thameslink franchise is up for grabs soon and one of the bits that is being bundled into it is the oddity that is the Northern City Line (from Finsbury Park to Moorgate via Essex Road). It’s a bit of useful infrastructure that is woefully underused (not at all during later evenings and weekends) and I strongly feel it should be integrated into the underground network. FCC or its successor could run all its trains from Hertford East or Welwyn into Kings Cross, and the NCL could join up with the old line from Finsbury Park to Muswell Hill (which is now Parkland Walk) to make a useful line comprising thirteen stations and intersecting with the Northern Line (at Highgate, Old Street and Moorgate), London Overground (at H&I and at a new interchange station at Stapleton Hall Road), with the Victoria Line (at H&I and Finsbury Park) and with EC/Thameslink services at Finsbury Park. Current commuters from Harringay out to Hertford etc would have a relatively simple crossover onto the new line at Finsbury Park and ticketing could mean they weren’t disadvantaged by the change.

Someone on wikipedia has done a version of the line in LU style here as it was planned in the 1930s – my version would not be part of the Northern Line – in fact it wouldn’t use underground rolling stock at all (see below) – and would include the extra station at Stapleton Hall Road and is shown below in more of a sketch style! Obviously the loss of Parkland Walk (a lovely green space which I use a lot, though not too useful in actual transit terms) would need to be offset somehow – let’s say by the guarantee of two ‘greenways’ (i.e. for foot and cycle users, with ample space/separation), one for the Highgate/Muswell Hill crowd, and one for the Stroud Green end).

I would be inclined to run it as a DLR type service, since many of the platforms on the northern end would need to be short. A frequent service would be well-used and extremely useful in my view, not only linking parts of London which are somewhat tricky to get between but also getting people into town quickly from some poorly connected areas (Crouch End, Muswell Hill, Tollington). Between the DLR style and the Northern City Line designation, something like the CNLR might be a sensible name for the whole thing.

 

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Published in: on July 18, 2012 at 8:06 am  Leave a Comment  

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